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    This courtroom sketch depicts Maria Butina, in orange suit, a 29-year-old gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent, listening to her attorney Robert Driscoll, standing, as he speaks to Judge Deborah Robinson, left, during a hearing in federal court in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson, bottom left, and co-defense attorney's Alfred Carry, right, listen. Prosecutors say Butina was likely in contact with Kremlin operatives while living in the United States. And prosecutors also are accusing her of using sex and deception to forge influential connections

    US Senate Intel Committee Authorizes Release of Butina Testimony

    © AP Photo / Dana Verkouteren
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    The US Senate Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday unanimously in favor of releasing the transcript of the interview conducted between Mariia Butina and the committee.

    "In response to requests from the Department of Justice and counsel for Maria Butina, we have sought authorization from the Senate to release to both parties the transcript of Ms. Butina's testimony before the Committee. The Committee intends to provide the transcript, provided both parties agree to include it under the auspices of a protective order, which we understand is currently under discussion," Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) said in a statement Wednesday.

    "Months ago, she voluntarily and privately testified before the bipartisan United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for 8 hours and produced thousands of documents," Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, previously said in a statement emailed to Sputnik News.

    Butina, 29, is a recent American University graduate who was arrested in Washington DC on July 15 on charges of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government in the United States.

    Maria Butina (Archivbild)
    © REUTERS / Russian Federation/Handout
    The US authorities later added the charge of Butina acting as an agent of a foreign government without registering. Butina has denied the charges, but is being held in detention without bond.

    On July 16, US federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Butina for acting as a foreign agent inside the United States without registering her activities.

    Prosecutors allege that Butina tried to gain access to organizations and individuals that have influence in US politics, according to the Justice Department release.

    Russia has strongly criticized the US government for detaining Butina and characterized the charges against her as "clearly groundless." However, Butina will reportedly remain in custody until the end of the trial. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in the US prison.


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