Reported Butina Plea Details Conspiracy: ‘Put Pressure On Them Quietly Later’

Mariia Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization, speaks on October 8, 2013 during a press conference in Moscow. - A 29-year-old Russian woman has been arrested for conspiring to influence US politics by cultivating t... Mariia Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization, speaks on October 8, 2013 during a press conference in Moscow. - A 29-year-old Russian woman has been arrested for conspiring to influence US politics by cultivating ties with political groups including the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights lobby. Mariia Butina, whose name is sometimes spelled Maria, was arrested in Washington on July 15, 2018 and appeared in court on July 16, the Justice Department said. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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December 10, 2018 6:30 p.m.
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According to a copy of Maria Butina’s expected-to-be-filed plea agreement, she and “Person 1” — believed to be GOP activist Paul Erickson — conspired with a Russian government official “and at least one other person” for Butina to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

ABC News obtained a copy of the plea agreement and published excerpts of it Monday. A court filing earlier Monday suggested a plea agreement was imminentFederal investigators have reportedly told Erickson he may also face charges. Butina’s deal includes cooperating with authorities, ABC News reported.

Butina and Person 1, the agreement reads, “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official (‘Russian Official’) and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General.”

“Russian Official” is believed to be Alexander Torshin, under whose direction, per the reported agreement, Butina “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.”

In the agreement, per ABC News, Butina acknowledges working with “Person 1” on a proposal she later shared with “Russian Official” called “Description of the Diplomacy Project.” In the proposal, according to the quoted agreement, Butina claimed she had “laid the groundwork for an unofficial channel of communication with the next U.S. administration.” She also asked for $125,000 to attend “meetings and conferences to further develop those ties,” in ABC News’ words. 

“Person 1,” per the agreement, “worked with Butina to arrange introductions to U.S. persons having influence in American politics.”

Also in the agreement: After a 2015 meeting of NRA higher-ups and donors in Moscow, hosted by Butina’s gun rights group, she wrote to “Russian Official,” in Russian: “We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later.”

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