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Maria Butina: Accused Russian Spy and GOP Operative Paul Erickson ‘Still Together’

The attorney for Maria Butina—the Russian woman who’s accused of ensnaring conservative political operative Paul Erickson as part of an alleged Kremlin influence campaign in the U.S.—says the couple are still together, and claims a newly released video of them singing “Beauty and the Beast” together proves they’re in love. Butina is awaiting trial on charges of acting as a foreign agent and has been accused of maintaining a “duplicitous relationship” with Erickson as part of a plan to set up backchannels to powerful Republican Party figures. But attorney Robert Driscoll says the couple are still together—in fact, he says Erickson visited her just this Saturday—and that their relationship is legitimate. “I think in some ways it’s a classic love story,” Driscoll said. “I think [reporters] are filling in a lot of the gaps with a lot of spy novels.” A new video shows the couple gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes as they sing the title track from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, with Driscoll saying of the tape: “I think you also look at this and say, ‘This looks pretty legitimate.’ At least I do. Maybe I’m a sucker for romance.”