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Accused Russian Butina Transferred From D.C. To Virginia Jail

Maria Butina (file photo)
Maria Butina (file photo)

A Russian woman who has been charged in the United States with acting as an unregistered agent for the Russian government has been transferred from a jail in Washington, D.C., to another one in Alexandria, Virginia, her attorney and jail officials say.

No reason was given why Maria Butina, 29, was moved to the new facility on August 17. She is being held without bail pending trial.

Butina's attorney, Robert Driscoll, told the Russian state-run TASS news agency that he had not been notified of the transfer prior to the move and that he was not given any reason for the action.

The Russian Embassy said in a statement early on August 19 that its diplomats had visited with Butina after the transfer.

Butina has been accused of attempting to infiltrate political groups, including the powerful National Rifle Association, to advance Russian interests while reporting back to a high-ranking official in Moscow in violation of the U.S. foreign-agent law.

On July 18, Butina pleaded not guilty to two criminal charges of conspiring to act as a foreign agent without registering, and acting as a foreign agent. The first charge brings a maximum five years in prison, while the second carries a maximum 10 years.

The Russian government has described her arrest as politically motivated and has called for her release.

In May, she received a master's degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C.

Based on reporting by The Washington Post, TASS, and The Daily Beast