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03:15

USA: Maria Butina's lawyer says Justice Dep. may have withheld exculpatory evidence *PARTNER CONTENT*

United States, Washington DC
July 31, 2019 at 19:39 GMT +00:00 · Published

Maria Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll speculated that the US Justice Department may have withheld exculpatory evidence based on the statements of FBI Informant Patrick Byrne, while speaking from Washington DC on Wednesday.

Driscoll spoke of the interview of former CEO of online retailer Overstock.com and FBI informant Patrick Byrne that he gave to the US government on Maria Butina's case. He says he had requested "interview memos or notes they had with any confidential informants they might have worked with," but "was never provided with any information of an exculpatory nature."

The lawyer highlighted that in case "there was exculpatory evidence that was withheld, there could be cause to look at the sentence again or possibly even look at the plea agreement and the conviction."

Driscoll also commented on Butina's condition at a Florida federal detention facility where she was transferred to from a facility in Virginia.

"It's still a restricted environment, but she has more access to the outside. She can run on a track every morning, she's got an audio player so she can listen to music, she's got a job in the kitchen as well as a job teaching high school graduate equivalency exams and she's got the ability to communicate by video-conference with her family once a week," he said.

Butina, a former student at the American University and a gun rights activist, admitted in December 2018 to conspiring to act as an agent for the Kremlin without registering in the US. She was the first Russian to be convicted of working to influence US policy during the 2016 presidential race.

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.

03:15
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Maria Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll speculated that the US Justice Department may have withheld exculpatory evidence based on the statements of FBI Informant Patrick Byrne, while speaking from Washington DC on Wednesday.

Driscoll spoke of the interview of former CEO of online retailer Overstock.com and FBI informant Patrick Byrne that he gave to the US government on Maria Butina's case. He says he had requested "interview memos or notes they had with any confidential informants they might have worked with," but "was never provided with any information of an exculpatory nature."

The lawyer highlighted that in case "there was exculpatory evidence that was withheld, there could be cause to look at the sentence again or possibly even look at the plea agreement and the conviction."

Driscoll also commented on Butina's condition at a Florida federal detention facility where she was transferred to from a facility in Virginia.

"It's still a restricted environment, but she has more access to the outside. She can run on a track every morning, she's got an audio player so she can listen to music, she's got a job in the kitchen as well as a job teaching high school graduate equivalency exams and she's got the ability to communicate by video-conference with her family once a week," he said.

Butina, a former student at the American University and a gun rights activist, admitted in December 2018 to conspiring to act as an agent for the Kremlin without registering in the US. She was the first Russian to be convicted of working to influence US policy during the 2016 presidential race.

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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