BACK TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Maria Butina Seeks Speedy Deportation Back to Russia
Maria Butina says she does not fear torture or persecution in Russia, even though she made a deal to cooperate with the FBI.
Maria Butina has waived her right to try to stay in the United States after serving her sentence, according to new court filings.
In the filing, released on Friday, Butina asked for a judicial order of removal, which would keep her and the government from having to go through the process Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) typically uses to deport immigrants. In short, the filing expedites her deportation from the country. In the filing, Butina—a Russian national who pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count—said she does not expect to face persecution or torture in Russia.
Justice Department lawyers have signed on to the filings, and a senior ICE official signed off on the move as well, which means the judge overseeing Butina’s case is likely to green-light her speedy deportation. If that happens, Butina will be unlikely to face an extended stay in an ICE detention center.
Butina moved to the U.S. several years ago and struck up relationships with conservative power-brokers, particularly in the gun rights community. She also helped facilitate a December 2015 Moscow trip for top officials with the National Rifle Association. Her activities drew the attention of congressional investigators scrutinizing Russian efforts to meddle in American politics during the 2016 election. Butina pleaded guilty last December to conspiring to break a law DOJ prosecutors describe as “espionage-lite” and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement as part of her guilty plea.