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Butina files appeal against verdict

The Russian national is currently held at Oklahoma’s Grady County Jail

WASHINGTON, May 16. /TASS/. Russian national Maria Butina jailed in the United States has filed a petition with the United States Court of Appeals against the District of Columbia Circuit’s verdict, sentencing her to an 18-month prison term, according to her appeal.

"I, the above named appellant, hereby appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from the above-stated judgment," the document says.

The statement says that the Russian woman is currently held at Oklahoma’s Grady County Jail.

In late April, Butina said in a telephone conference that she along with her lawyers were considering the possibility of filing an appeal. Butina did not rule out that she would ask for parole in due time. Her attorney Robert Driscoll told reporters after the sentencing that the defense team would look into the possibility of filing an appeal, but did not pin hopes on that due to the plea bargain that Butina signed last December, as Butina’s plea deal had put certain restrictions on appealing the sentence.

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.

Butina’s case

Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, 2018 - prior to 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. Butina had arrived in the United States for a course of studies. She did a master’s degree at American University, where she studied international relations.