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Breaking: Alleged spy who targeted conservatives reaches a plea deal


Democrats are already pouncing on the development

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina has reached a plea deal over charges that she attempted to manipulate conservative political groups for the sake of influencing U.S. politics.

Butina was known for advocating for gun rights in Russia before she came to the U.S. and began cultivating relationships with conservative activists and organizations, including the National Rifle Association.

On Monday, the Daily Beast reported that she had struck a deal with law enforcement officials.

Butina was arrested in Washington on July 15, 2018. She was charged with acting as covert agent of a foreign government, and conspiracy to do the same.

A press release from the Department of Justice explained the accusations against Butina, saying, "from as early as 2015 and continuing through at least February 2017, Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank. This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018."

According to filings from her attorney, she suffered from depression and claustrophobia in prison, especially as she was held in solitary confinement.

The Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. objected to the treatment of Butina and accused the U.S. of torturing her to force an agreement to testify.

She has agreed in her plea deal to cooperate with law enforcement officials "in any and all to matters as to which the Government deems this cooperation relevant."

One significant detail is that she has plead guilty to the charge of conspiracy to act as a covert agent of a foreign government, but not to the charge of acting as a covert agent.

"January is coming"

Democrat Senator Ted Lieu gleefully gloated at the NRA after the news of Butina's eminent deal was reported.

Dear @NRA: Now I know why you refused to answer the letter I wrote with other Members of Congress in March about Russian efforts to influence you," he tweeted.

"Will the Maria Butina plea expose what you are hiding in your clenched fist?" he added. "Oh, and I have 3 words for you: January is coming." Lieu was likely referring to Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives and using the power of subpoena to investigate Russian election interference and alleged collusion.

Here's the Fox News report on Butina's plea deal:

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