Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleads 'not guilty,' lawyer says he wants to see gov. evidence
Maria Butina (Photo/Pavel Starikov, Flickr)
WASHINGTON - Accused Russian spy Maria Butina was in court on Wednesday. But her attorney maintains she did nothing wrong.
Maria Butina, a 29-year-old gun rights activist, appeared in a Washington court in an orange prison jumpsuit.
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The government says Butina infiltrated U.S. politics hoping to push a Russian agenda. Butina was arrested this month and awaits trial on charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia.
Prosecutors have accused her of using sex and deception to forge influential connections.
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Prosecutors say they are working to provide the defense with more than 1.5 million pages of documents on her. But first, they want to make sure Butina's lawyers won't disclose the information to the media or anyone else.
Prosecutors say accuse Butina's attorney of wanting that evidence turned over to the press, to sway the public about his client. They also say the evidence could assist going investigations and must remain confidential.
D.C.-based attorney Robert Driscoll has been making the cable news rounds and the judge noticed. At Wednesday morning's court hearing, the judge scolded Driscoll, emphasizing the importance for a fair trial and unbiased jury pool.
"We're going to the status conference. We set dates for moving forward with the matter. We let the court know what motions we're going to file," said Driscoll.
He claims the television appearances are to defend inaccurate reports about his client.
At court, the judge gave federal prosecutors two weeks to submit their protective order for the million-plus pieces of evidence.
Butina's attorney has a week to submit any objections, mainly concerning the Russian native's computer, diary, phone and other personal belongings now considered evidence against her.
"We remain confident that Ms. Butina will be vindicated at the end of this process and that everyone will realize the truth of the matter," said Driscoll.
Driscoll raised several concerns in court, including demanding the government provide proof his client traded sex for a job, and requesting the prosecutors turn over Butina's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Butina, who has pleaded "not guilty," remains in jail without bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.