BARNAUL, May 11. /TASS/. The family of Maria Butina, a Russian national charged with espionage in the US, has been unable to contact her after the transfer from the prison in Alexandria, Virginia to the Northern Neck Regional Jail, located in the same state, Butina’s father Valery Butin informed TASS on Saturday.
"Her lawyers are trying to get in contact with her, we would like to hear from her, but so far there is nothing of the kind. Perhaps she will be able to contact us, perhaps not. There might be a quarantine: she might be available for several days, or she might not be," Butin said.
On April 26, a court in Washington sustained the prosecution’s request for sentencing Butina to 18 months behind bars. Judge Tanya Chutkan ignored the defense lawyers’ request that Butina should be sentenced to a term equal to the period she had already spent in custody. The Russian national is to be released from prison on November 5, 2019.
Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, right before the Helsinki meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The US Department of Justice said that she was suspected of acting "as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation."
On December 13, Butina pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the US law governing foreign agents operating in the country and signed a plea agreement. The prosecution said at the time that the process of Butina’s cooperation with the investigation might take some time.
Butina had arrived in the United States for a course of studies. Last spring, she obtained a master’s degree at American University, where she studied international relations.