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Maria Butina...writ or NYET?

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Posted on April 23 2019


July 2018 entry here, July 2018 NRA

Butina whistleblower entry here 

Kline Preston, NRA and Torshin entry here

NRA FEC entry here

NRA lobbying efforts here


Maybe you forgot about Butina’s:


GQ Russia photo shoot, April 2014


Yet after reading Special Counsel Mueller’s [redacted] report there are two matters that are relatively silent, the NRA and Butina. There is and has always been an outstanding question for me:


July  11, 2015 How/Who arranged for Butina to ask Trump:

BUTINA to Trump:   “I’m from Russia. My question will be about foreign politics. If you will be elected as president, what will be your foreign politics, especially in the relationships with my country? Do you want to continue the policy of sanctions that are damaging both economies? Or [do you] have any other ideas?”


TRUMP’s RESPONSE:  “I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we’ll get along with Putin. … I would get along very nicely with Putin, I mean, where we have the strength. I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well.”



And now this brings us to Butina’s December 2018 plea deal. Because this is important that we start from a factual basis for a more fulsome discussion. I never believed that Butina would be a “cooperative” witness nor would she fulfill the obligation of providing the Government “substantial assistance” that would garner the coveted 5K1 letter. In general terms the 5K1 letter is a letter written by the Government explaining how the witness assisted the Government and why a “downward spiral” is appropriate for a Court to consider during sentencing.

Butina’s plea agreement has a pretty robust cooperation section (starting on page 7)

On page 8 of Butina’s plea, specifically section 11 (b)


Section 11 (c) thru (d) is pretty standard especially the presence of her attorney, which would require Butina submit such a request in writing to the Government.


Furthermore the expectations of the terms and conditions of her guilty plea are literally in black and white text. There’s zero and I mean zero ambiguity.

On page 9 of Butina’s December 2018 plea deal (of which she and her Counsel - both them) signed and executed this plea deal, there’s an ENTIRE paragraph clearly and concisely explaining the immigration issues. Trust me, reread this paragraph because it will in fact eviscerate her random Writ of Habeous Corpus that she filed in the Eastern District Of Pennsylvania (in February 2019, docketed on March 29, 2019 and adjudicated on April 18, 2019 by closing the EDPA case and transfering her writ to DC)



Late Friday Night (April 20, 2019) both Butina and the Government filed their respective Sentencing Memos. See twitter thread below (archived because Twitter). The fact Butina denotes her certification in knitting and life skills. How very domesticated of her. NYET.




🌶SpicyFiles Sidebar🌶 granted the Government had Butina on the radar, particularly in the context of Counterintelligence. So their investigation pre-dated Special Counsel Mueller but I found that Mueller’s Report makes zero and I mean zero reference to Butina or the NRA. I suppose one could argue that might be in the redacted portions of Mueller’s report but again that’s a guess. So it’s okay to be skeptical.


As many of you now know,  earlier today I was confounded when I realized that Maria Butina filed a Writ Of Habeas Corpus in the Eastern District Of Pennsylvania.

See Blacks Law Dictonary for HABEAS CORPUS see Twitter thread below (Archived because Twitter)





So let’s go ahead and drill down on Butina’s February/March 2019 Writ Of HABEAS CORPUS. For the record I can not find an OpenSource link to her filing (PACER link but there’s a paywall) for example how does Butina know her judgement will only be six months?

Notice how in Butina’s Writ, again it was filed in the EDPA. Of which I’m unaware of any case involving Butina in the EDPA ergo her filing a writ in that jurisdiction is inane...Butina states that her attorney did not inform her that she would be deported. 

Today’s motions. The court ordered both parties to file a response to Butina’s Motion to Strike the former FBI Assistant Director Of Counterintelligence. Personally I found Butina’s Motion to Strike, comical and without merit. Her motion lacked substance and was anemic on laws to support her argument. Notwithstanding I suppose she does have some rights, after all our Judicial System demands equal protection and justice for all. Even if your a foreign National who’s “citizen diplomacy” did in fact violate our Country’s laws. Had she actually registered via FARA I seriously doubt she would be in jail. But don’t lose sight of this, she’s not a young impressionable flamboyant school girl. She’s a spy and she obtained a Student Visa under false pretenses...


Butina’s Response to the Court’s Minute Order, Document No 110

The government’s last-minute shift in theory has unfortunately left the defense in a position where there is no pragmatic adjournment that can work in the context of this case. The Anderson declaration raises a wholly new theory of espionage activity that was never charged, never cleared by a grand jury, never disclosed, and never even raised directly with Maria during her 50-plus hours of interviews. Permitting the government to proceed on this basis would effectively transform Maria’s sentencing hearing into a separate trial on unreliable claims with lower burdens of proof.



Oh but not to be out done by the Defense Counsel now offering the burden of how Butina is destitute and “just a young impressionable school girl”...she’s THIRTY YEARS OLD. She’s not some young innocent child engaging in “citizen diplomacy” and frankly I’m a slight bit flummoxed why the Government has yet to bring up the Butina’s Attorney likely violated the gag order with his numerous appearances on RT and Ruptly


The problem I see witn Butina’s response is it lacks both a substantive argument and frankly it reads rather disingenuous and wholly intellectually dishonest.

“...evidence to be offered against her. The court should not place on the defendant the burden of bringing forth evidence or information at this point to rebut the inadequate, late-disclosed, and unreliable information in the Anderson declaration.”


So let’s see how the Government responded to Butina’s Motion to Strike the Declaration Of Anderson. It’s kind of awesome. Given that Butina and her defense counsel have repeatedly tried to paint her as some innocent school girl who isn’t a foreign agent. One thing to keep in mind if our Government says she’s a spy, she’s not like you or me. She came to our Country and everything she has done has been at the furtherance of the Russian Federation, so spare me the feigned “she’s just a kid” craptastic narrative. 

 “...government chose to provide the Court with information from an expert who could describe the usefulness of Butina’s actions from the perspective of a foreign power such as the Russian Federation.

On Page 2 of the Government’s Opposition they disclosed that they preemptively notified the Defense both in writing, in person meetings and telephonically, ergo the Defense’s previous argument is in fact disingenuous and frankly dishonest.

“The government is not required to provide expert notice or a declaration ahead of a sentencing hearing. The government nonetheless provided the defense, on April 17, 2019, with written notice of its intent to attach a declaration and to potentially call former Assistant Director Anderson as a witness at sentencing. This written notice followed an in-person discussion on April 10, 2019, and a phone call on April 11, 2019, during which the government informed the defense of Mr. Anderson’s identity and the general use to which the government planned to put any declaration or testimony.


I mean the Government does make a compelling argument that nothing in the Constitution or the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure precludes the Government from calling upon an expert witness. Given the Government’s April 20th filing was meant to aid the Court of the impact and totality of the behavior Butina engaged in:

“In sum, the sentencing materials, including the Anderson Declaration, were submitted at an appropriate time. No rule or constitutional standard was violated, and the defendant’s motion should be denied.

To the extent that the defense does not believe it can adequately respond to the Anderson Declaration, the government has no objection to delaying sentencing to provide the defense with additional time to fashion a response.”


The aforementioned is born out in the following paragraph of the Government’s Opposition to Butina’s Motion to Strike. As far as the veracity and bona fides of the former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Robert Anderson...

“...a credentialed and well-respected witness who can assist the Court in understanding how the defendant’s conduct benefited the Russian government and jeopardized U.S. national security. Of course, the seriousness of the offense is not the Court’s only inquiry and, as the government noted in its memorandum in aid of sentencing..”



I liken the next paragraph to someone walking right up to you and bench slapping the taste out of your mouth. Because over the course of this case Robert Driscoll has repeatedly mischaracterized the Government’s flings, he also ran straight to Russian State Media and mouth offed. Until the Court admonished him and subsequently thereafter issued a gag order (but again Driscoll in my opinion repeatedly violated the gag order)


“The remainder of the defendant’s arguments are unavailing. For example, the defense argues that the government is changing its theory of the case. The defense is mistaken. The government has consistently submitted that Butina worked as an agent of a high-ranking Russian official to create a communication “backchannel” to benefit Russia.”


In closing the Government points to the many flaws and mischaracterization by the Defense Counsel. The Defense has the temerity and arrogance to state the former FBI Assistant Director Of Counterintelligence is some how an unreliable witness. All while trying to paint Butina as some “young impressionable school girl” the audacity is stunning.


ps, always read the footnotes, that’s where the good stuff tends to be. Because it is clear that Driscoll has not done his client any favors by his reckless insinuations and his repeated overreach while taking large liberties of the actual facts. Again it’s not lost on me that Driscoll is also representing Trump’s hand picked (former) White House Security Director who purportedly over turned some 25+ security clearance adjudications.


The Government’s Opposition concludes that the Court should deny Butina’s Motion to Strike. I suppose on Friday we will all learn the fate of Butina. Frankly I’m of the Opinion she should serve the maximum allowable imprisonment. Particularly in light of her (completely inappropriate and unacceptable) Writ in EDPA. I could be wrong but I certainly expect the Judge to press Butina on her writ during Friday’s Sentencing Hearing.


Exhibit A: 

Driscoll appeared on Russia Today via Ruptly on February 7 2019, where he discussed the Butina case. 

RT speaks to Robert Driscoll, lawyer of charged Russian Maria Butina, “There wasn’t any spying at all by Ms Butina”

 Exhibit B: February 23, 2019 RT Appearance:

Maria Butina may be deported to Russia as early as next month, according to her lawyer. She was detained and accused of being a "Russian agent" by the U.S. Department of Justice in July. Robert Driscoll says he's hopeful that she will be released in "two to six weeks", and joins us to discuss the...


Exhibit C: I mean who needs Fox when Driscoll makes numerous appearances on Russia Today...

A judge delayed the sentencing of Maria Butina, who is accused of spying on the US for Russia, at the request of a prosecutor citing her ongoing co-operation, during a hearing from a Washington DC courthouse on Tuesday.

I should probably acknowledge that the Judge in the Butina matter actually lifted the September Gag Order just before Christmas 2018 but I am curious if or when the DOJ Orders Robert Driscoll to register as a “foreign agent” pursuant to FARA given that he most certainly appears to be acting in the furtherance of the Russian Federation versus America’s. YES I’m going there. 

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