Accused Russian spy Maria Butina offered sex in exchange for US job, prosecutors say

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The 29-year-old Russian woman accused of covertly working as a foreign agent while living in the United States allegedly offered to have sex with an unnamed individual in return for a job in the United States, prosecutors said Wednesday.

And that's not all. According to new court filings, Maria Butina allegedly “gained access” to "an extensive network of U.S. persons in positions to influence political activities in the United States" by living with and having a personal relationship with another individual.

Prosecutors revealed the new allegations against Butina in documents filed Wednesday, as Butina pleaded not guilty and a judge ordered her held without bond in court.

Prosecutors had asked the judge in the case to keep Butina in jail before her trial, arguing she’s a flight risk.

“Butina is a Russian citizen with no meaningful ties to the United States; she has every reason to flee this prosecution,” U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu wrote in the court document.

According to the documents, Butina was living with a 56-year-old individual described as "U.S. Person 1."

"But this relationship does not represent a strong tie to the United States because Butina appears to treat it as simply a necessary aspect of her activities,” prosecutors wrote, saying the FBI obtained papers where she complained and "expressed disdain" about the individual.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors said Butina offered another individual “sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization.”

Butina is accused of conspiring to infiltrate U.S. political organizations — possibly including the National Rifle Association — at the direction of an unnamed senior Kremlin official.

Butina, who accompanied Republican activist Paul Erickson to President Trump’s inauguration, has been charged with acting as a foreign agent, as well as conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

According to prosecutors, the FBI uncovered evidence that Butina was in contact with officials believed to be Russian intelligence operatives. She also had contact information for people identified as employees of the Russian FSB, the main successor agency to the USSR’s KGB.


“Based on this and other evidence, the FBI believes that the defendant was likely in contact with the FSB throughout her stay in the United States,” Liu wrote in the papers.

Prosecutors also said they believe Butina was planning to depart the United States before her arrest, citing packed boxes in her apartment.

“Her last tie to the District of Columbia—her apartment lease—ends on July 31, 2018, and there were boxes packed in her apartment consistent with a move at the time of her arrest on July 15, 2018,” Liu wrote. “All of Butina’s known personal ties, save for those U.S. persons she attempted to exploit and influence, reside in the Russian Federation.”

Prosecutors also said Butina was regarded as a covert agent by a Russian official with whom she was in touch, with text messages discovered by the FBI showing how the official likened her to Anna Chapman, a Russian woman who was arrested in 2010 and then deported as part of a prisoner swap.

In March 2017, following news coverage of Butina, the Russian official wrote, "Are your admirers asking for your autographs yet? You have upstaged Anna Chapman. She poses with toy pistols, while you are being published with real ones," according to the court filing.

Butina and the official messaged each other directly on Twitter, prosecutors said. One such exchange occurred a month before the U.S. presidential election when Butina said she understood that "everything has to be quiet and careful."

They also spoke on January 20, 2017 when Butina sent the official a photo of her near the U.S. Capitol on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. According to court papers, the Russian official responded, "You're a daredevil girl! What can I say!()" Butina responded, "Good teachers!"

The charges were announced Monday, just as Trump was wrapping up his controversial summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, has called the allegations "overblown" and said prosecutors had criminalized mundane networking opportunities. Driscoll said Butina was not an agent of the Russian Federation but was instead in the U.S. on a student visa, graduating from American University with a master's degree in international relations.

"There is simply no indication of Ms. Butina seeking to influence or undermine any specific policy or law or the United States — only at most to promote a better relationship between the two nations," Driscoll said in a statement. "The complaint is simply a misuse of the Foreign Agent statute, which is designed to punish covert propaganda, not open and public networking by foreign students."

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.