Thu, 27 Jun 2019

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 14 (ANI): Maria Butina, an alleged Russian spy, pleaded guilty of conspiring against the United States of America for working to infiltrate the political circles of the Republican party to further Russian interests at a federal court on Thursday (local time).

Butina targetted groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) to get closer to the Grand Old Party (GOP) as she believed the group "had influence over the Republicans," according to CNN.

Butina mentioned that she was taking orders from a retired Russian official while pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with the prosecutors in order to get a reduced term.

"Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics," the prosecutors stated in Washington.

The alleged spy faces a maximum term of five years in jail, following which she may be deported. At the moment, Butina has agreed to fully cooperate by submitting any evidence of the crime, testifying before juries, turning over a detailed account of her financial assets and sitting for interviews with law enforcement officials without a counsel.

Butina allegedly wrote a draft proposal of the conspiracy named the "Description of the Diplomacy Project" in 2015, which outlined her plan to become an unofficial channel of communication between Russia and the USA. She received USD 1,25,000 from the Russian official, whom CNN has recognised as Alexander Torshin, to attend GOP conferences to get close with the US government.

Russia, on the other hand, stated that Butina's arrest was politically motivated and she took the deal to "survive".

A hearing will be held in February next year to finalise a sentencing date for Butina. (ANI)

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