Lawyers for accused Russian agent Maria Butina on Tuesday asked a federal judge to release their client from solitary confinement back into the general jail population.
In a new court filing, the attorneys claim Butina was placed in solitary on Nov. 21 and has been kept in a cell “the size of a parking space” for 22 hours per day ever since. Jail staff told the lawyers that she was moved there as punishment for giving another inmate her lawyers’ phone number, according to the document.
Butina has been held at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, since Aug. 18. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to register as a foreign agent.
According to a joint court filing this month from federal prosecutors and Butina’s lawyers, the two parties are in negotiations to reach a “potential resolution” to her case.
Butina was relocated to the Alexandria facility amid claims by the Russian government that she’d been mistreated at the Washington D.C. jail where she was initially confined, including being placed in solitary confinement.
Per her attorneys, Butina’s current conditions are taking a psychological toll on her.
“It is the opinion of the undersigned that prolonged depravation of human contact and interaction is starting to have a profound psychological impact on Ms. Butina,” they wrote in the latest filing. “Unless the court intervenes, she will continue to be held in this manner and ultimately require the attention of mental health professionals.”
Read the full document below.