Russian government claims accused NRA spy Maria Butina was TORTURED

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In the statement, Butina admitted to working with Russian politician and central banker Aleksandr Torshin from March 2015 "to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over USA politics".

Maria Butina appeared in court after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

"She is this young woman who was dealing with a very specific issue, and that is gun rights".

Castro said the cooperation of Russian Maria Butina with federal investigators "really opens up an avenue for prosecutors to find out a few things". CNN reported Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the case, that Butina has already offered information to investigators about an American she allegedly conspired with, as well as a Russian official alleged to have directed her US activities. Butina's attorney Robert Driscoll said she will voluntarily remain in custody until her sentencing. It also described how Butina and a "wealthy and well-connected US person"-previously identified as conservative writer and Rockefeller heir George O'Neill Jr. -hosted "friendship dinners", where she aimed to forge ties to politically connected Washingtonians with the ear of the Trump administration". As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped a charge of acting as a foreign agent.

Clad in a green jumpsuit with her red hair pulled back in a long braid, Butina replied "absolutely" when asked by Chutkan if her mind was clear as she prepared to enter her plea of guilty. Butina also faces the possibility she will be deported after she serves any prison sentence the judge choses to impose.

In 2010, Anna Chapman and nine other "sleeper agents" working secretly in the US on behalf of Russian Federation pleaded guilty and were sent back to Moscow as part of a prisoner exchange. Her attorney, Robert Driscoll, and attorneys for the government also acknowledged that Butina is in the process of cooperating with the government as part of her plea agreement.

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She helped a US citizen host "friendship dinners" with other wealthy and influential Americans to talk about US-Russian policy, prosecutors said and Butina admitted in court.

The conspiracy, as prosecutors described it in court, kicked off no later than March 2015 with a draft proposal Butina wrote to Torshin and others called the "Description of the Diplomacy Project".

Prosecutors say it is "very likely" she will be deported from the US after her sentence is completed.

Butina's lawyers previously identified the Russian official as Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia's central bank who was targeted with US Treasury Department sanctions in April.

Butina admitted that she "sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over USA politics".

Born in the southern Siberian city of Barnaul in 1988, according to her Facebook page, she has enjoyed using weapons ever since she was a child, picking up a gun for the first time at the age of 10.

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Russian officials have strenuously defended Butina, asserting that the USA case was exaggerated or outright false. Both in court and in the filings, prosecutors refer to what is apparently the GOP as "Political Party #1".

After the visit, according to court records, she sent a Russian official a message apparently referencing the NRA saying, "We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later".

Prosecutors said that one of the two Americans was Paul Erickson, a conservative activist who was dating her.

Her admission added to the drumbeat of developments in investigations related to the 2016 presidential election, with indications that prosecutors are receiving information from several people close to President Donald Trump. Mueller has brought criminal charges against a series of Russian individuals and entities but those cases are still pending.

Butina had mounted an aggressive defense and tried to have the charges against her tossed.

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