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02:59

USA: ‘Impossible to separate from politics’ – Butina’s lawyer comments on case

United States, Washington DC
April 27, 2019 at 16:06 GMT +00:00 · Published

Lawyer for Maria Butina Robert Driscoll said in his opinion "it is impossible" to separate this case "from the politics," speaking from Washington DC in an RT interview released on Saturday.

"There is an underlying crime that she pled guilty to which you can make out under US law. But I think the notion that this would have been investigated or an arrest would have been made for a typical foreign national who wasn't Russian and wasn't in the current environment we're in in the US," Driscoll said.

Driscoll believes that the charges Butina faced can possibly pave the way for a dangerous precedent for countries and these countries would apply the same standards against citizens of the US.

"Say the son or daughter of a United States Senator or cabinet member went to study abroad somewhere and joined a civil society group or a particular interest group - that would seem to be no different than what Maria Butina did," he stated, adding that "none of Maria's activities in the US were illegal in and of themselves" and she never received any money from the Russian Federation.

Driscoll points to the fact that anyone can be charged with espionage, "you can be prosecuted simply for going to dinner, dinners that was written about in magazines in the US, this is nothing secret and merely networking."

Butina's lawyer hopes she will be deported back to Russia soon and possibly will spend "the rest of her life" there.

Butina was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, with the judge crediting nine months already served. She will be deported back to Russia after completing her sentence.

02:59
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Lawyer for Maria Butina Robert Driscoll said in his opinion "it is impossible" to separate this case "from the politics," speaking from Washington DC in an RT interview released on Saturday.

"There is an underlying crime that she pled guilty to which you can make out under US law. But I think the notion that this would have been investigated or an arrest would have been made for a typical foreign national who wasn't Russian and wasn't in the current environment we're in in the US," Driscoll said.

Driscoll believes that the charges Butina faced can possibly pave the way for a dangerous precedent for countries and these countries would apply the same standards against citizens of the US.

"Say the son or daughter of a United States Senator or cabinet member went to study abroad somewhere and joined a civil society group or a particular interest group - that would seem to be no different than what Maria Butina did," he stated, adding that "none of Maria's activities in the US were illegal in and of themselves" and she never received any money from the Russian Federation.

Driscoll points to the fact that anyone can be charged with espionage, "you can be prosecuted simply for going to dinner, dinners that was written about in magazines in the US, this is nothing secret and merely networking."

Butina's lawyer hopes she will be deported back to Russia soon and possibly will spend "the rest of her life" there.

Butina was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, with the judge crediting nine months already served. She will be deported back to Russia after completing her sentence.

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