A woman attending the American University in Washington, D.C. has been sentenced after being discovered as a covert Russian agent.
30-year-old Maria Butina is a Russian national who D.C. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan says exhibited planned conduct that was “sophisticated and penetrated deep into U.S. political organizations.”
After arriving in the U.S. Butina immediately set out to court conservative and gun-right activists, especially those with ties to the National Rifle Association. She was eventually arrested for being in violation of a U.S. law that prohibits individuals from acting as foreign agents without informing the attorney general.
While the Justice Department considered Butina’s transgressions to be “espionage-lite,” it still handed her an 18 month prison sentence.
“This was no simple misunderstanding by an overeager foreign student,” Chutkan said, sharing that the crime Butina pled guilty to “is serious, and jeopardized this country’s national security.”
For her part Butina has been openly repentant saying, “My reputation is ruined, both here in the United States and abroad. And while I know that I am not this evil person who has been depicted in the media, I’m responsible for these consequences.”
She is expected to be deported back to Russia following completion of her sentence.