Maria Butina, former student, sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy

Russian operative sentenced after pleading guilty to acting in Russia’s interest

Maria Butina, former student, sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy

Maria Butina, pictured in 2014, is charged with acting as a Russian agent. 

Maria Butina, a former American University graduate student and Russian gun rights activist, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge. 

A federal judge sentenced Butina, 30, on April 26, for her attempts to build ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign on behalf of an unnamed Russian official. This official is widely believed to be Alexander Torshin, a Russian bank official. Additionally, Butina worked to build ties with the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Group.

Although Butina was working on behalf of the Russian government, the charges are unrelated to the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller for Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

Butina has been incarcerated since her arrest last July, which she will receive credit for in her 18-month sentence. 

The federal judge in her case said her work was “sophisticated” and “dangerous” and that it was “no misunderstanding by an overeager college student.”

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