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Prosecutors said while Butina did not engage in “traditional” spy craft, she worked behind the scenes to make inroads in conservative political circles and promote warmer U.S.-Russian relations. She arranged dinners in Washington and New York and attended events to meet prominent politicians.

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Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, was the Russian official mentioned in the case. Torshin was not charged.

Butina‘s case was separate from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which detailed numerous contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Her activities, though, occurred during the same period as the contacts investigated by Mueller.

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‘I AM RESPONSIBLE’

Until Friday, Butina had made no major public comments since her arrest. Her remarks ran counter to the Kremlin’s account of Butina being forced by the United States to falsely confess to the “ridiculous” charge of being a Russian agent.

“I destroyed my own life,” Butina told the judge.

“While I know I am not this evil person who has been depicted in the media, I am responsible for these consequences,” Butina added.

“Now I beg for mercy, for the chance to go home and restart my life,” she said.

Her lawyers downplayed her crime as a simple failure to notify the Justice Department of her activities on Russia’s behalf.

“If I had known to register as a foreign agent, I would have done so without delay,” Butina told the judge. “I just didn’t register because I didn’t know to.”

Prosecutor Erik Kenerson told the court Butina‘s activities were more serious.

“This is not a registration offense,” Kenerson said. “This is a case where the defendant acted in the United States as an agent of the Russian government.”

Chutkan said determining Butina‘s sentence was “far more complicated” than most cases. The 18 months recommended by prosecutors were less than they could have sought, reflecting Butina‘s cooperation after her guilty plea that included her speaking to a congressional committee, the FBI and federal prosecutors.

Reuters previously reported Butina was a public Trump supporter who bragged at Washington parties she could use her political connections to help people land jobs in his administration.

One of the two Americans referenced by prosecutors was conservative political activist Paul Erickson, Butina‘s then-boyfriend. He was not charged in Butina‘s case but faces wire fraud and money laundering charges in a separate prosecution in South Dakota.

Many of Butina‘s meetings were documented on her social media pages, with photos of her at NRA conferences, a high-profile annual prayer breakfast in Washington, and with dignitaries including Republican former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a 2016 presidential candidate.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow; Editing by Will Dunham)

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