Butina was arrested by US authorities on 25 July, 2018, and held in solitary confinement until she signed a plea deal in December charging her with one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent without notifying the US Attorney General.
The initial charges against Butina carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison but in April, despite her defense lawyer requesting time served, a US court sentenced Butina to 18 months in prison. In June, however, her sentence was reduced slightly due to good behavior.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has called Butina's sentence a disgrace of the US judicial system and accused the US court of carrying out a political order. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Butina’s indictment is unjustified because she was not tasked to perform any mission on behalf of the Russian government.