Butina Asks Judge to Free Her from Solitary Confinement

Maria Butina. Photo courtesy William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Currently imprisoned at a detention center in Virginia, accused Russian spy Maria Butina asked a federal judge on Tuesday to move her out of solitary confinement as she awaits an upcoming hearing in Washington, D.C.

Butina was indicted in July on charges of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent and failure to register as an agent of a foreign government. Butina plead not guilty.

Prosecutors claimed Butina used her connections while living in America, including those at the National Rifle Association, to advance Russian political interests in the U.S.

Butina’s attorneys, Robert Driscoll and Alfred Carry, have said the charges against Butina are overblown and unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the matter at a federal court in Washington, D.C.  agreed earlier this month to grant Butina’s attorneys a chance to reach a “potential resolution” to the criminal charges. A status hearing is scheduled for December 19.

In the meantime, according to her attorneys, Butina is being held in solitary confinement at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia  “under a false pretext to mask an indefinite solitary confinement that is unjust and without cause,” the five-page filing states.

Detainees at the detention center in Virginia remain in “administrative segregation” for their own safety but Driscoll and Carry say Butina has previously been held in general population without issue and even at her request.

“Between her commitment at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, D.C. and then the Alexandria detention center, Ms. Butina has been isolated in solitary confinement for approximately 67 days straight,” the filing states.

“It is the opinion of the undersigned that prolonged deprivation of human contact and interaction is starting to have a profound psychological impact on Ms. Butina,” her attorneys wrote.

Driscoll and Carry also claim Butina’s placement in solitary confinement has not been formally logged into the detention center’s computer system.

“Ms. Butina’s status is disclosed by only a piece of tape with handwriting attached to the guard stand,” the attorneys claim.

The Special Counsel’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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