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Butina needs over $650,000 to pay US lawyer’s fees

On April 26, the Russian national was sentenced to 18 months in prison

MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS/. Russian national Maria Butina jailed in the United States needs a total of 43 mln rubles ($659,000) to pay her US lawyer’s fees, President of Russia’s Foundation for the Protection of National Values Alexander Malkevich told reporters in Moscow.

"The Foundation for the Protection of National Values has collected ten mln rubles ($153,000), and another three mln ($46,000) have been gathered by the Russian Peace Foundation. She needs 30 mln rubles ($460,000) more to pay her lawyer’s fees. She is due to be released from prison on November 5, so the lawyer will continue to carry out his activities for another six months," Malkevish said.

According to him, the Maria Butina Fund had raised funds to pay her lawyers in 2018. "The Fund collected two million rubles ($30,600) and spent them on her lawyers, now she owes them 43 mln rubles ($659,000), of which 13 mln rubles ($199,000) have been collected," he explained, adding that the money was about to be transferred.

On Monday, the Izvestia daily said, citing International Human Rights Committee Vice President Alexander Ionov, that individuals and organizations had donated about 12 mln rubles ($184,000) to the Maria Butina Fund.

Butina case

Maria Butina, 30, went to the United States for a college course. In the spring of 2018, she obtained a master’s degree in international relations from American University. She was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, 2018, 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 conspiracy to violate the US law governing foreign agents operating in the country and signed a plea bargain.

On April 26, the Russian was sentenced to 18 months in prison.