WASHINGTON (CN) – Attorneys for Maria Butina have demanded the government turn over a list of its evidence against the accused Russian spy while arguing that the government is actively withholding evidence that could be favorable to their case.
In a seven-page letter written by Butina’s attorneys Robert Driscoll and Alfred Carry, they contend the government has long ignored multiple requests for an index of all discoverable material produced by the government against Butina to date.
Since neither Driscoll nor Carry are proficient in Russian, – and many of the documents produced by the government are in Russian – the attorneys said Monday it is “unclear whether all or even most of the documents or items are relevant to the case, although initial assumptions must be that they are.”
To turn over a “huge file of useless and superfluous material to frustrate” the defendant’s review violates terms of Brady v. Maryland, Driscoll wrote.
Brady is Supreme Court ruling which found suppression by prosecution of exculpatory – or favorable – evidence when it has been requested, violates due process.
“In other criminal cases involving voluminous discovery and foreign language documents, [the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia] has ordered the government to produce an index of discoverable information,” Butina’s attorney wrote, noting that the “dumping” of voluminous documents in another language would not comply with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
In addition to the index, the attorneys also requested prosecutors provide copies of visa applications, U.S. visitor and traveler histories, warrants, affidavits and inventories that authorize “any” search and seizure for individuals or entities they have named so far.
Those names were redacted in Monday’s letter.
The government’s failure to provide discovery material as requested, the attorneys added, is “tantamount to prosecutorial misconduct.”
“The fact that Maria Butina is Russian does not reduce the government’s Brady obligations,” the letter states.
Butina was indicted by a grand jury in July on charges of acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. Prosecutors claim Butina used her connections with groups like the National Rifle Association to promote Russian interests in America.
Butina has pleaded not guilty to the charges.