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Butina Locked Up with Manafort, Russian Media Cries “Torture”, Erickson MIA

Butina in stripes...
Butina in stripes

The feds are putting together the pieces in the Trump-Russia scandal… literally! On Friday evening, our government moved accused Russian spy Maria Butina to the Alexandria, Virginia, jail where Trump’s once-campaign manager Paul Manafort awaits his nervous jury‘s verdict. Neither Butina’s lawyer nor anyone else outside the government knows why:

Maria Butina and Paul Manafort
…oh, that’s right, federal prison issues orange, not stripes.

“I got a collect call from Maria from Alexandria Detention at midnight last night, but was disconnected before we could speak,” Robert Driscoll told The Daily Beast. “I couldn’t get in to the facility last night, but visited her this morning. She was not informed of the reason for the move. I was not notified of the move, and still am unaware of the reason.”

Amy Bertsch, a spokeswoman for the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, confirmed Butina arrived around 7 p.m. Friday at William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, which also houses federal inmates. Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief, is also currently being held at the same jail, awaiting the verdict in his trial for a host of alleged financial crimes [Betsy Woodruff and Pervaiz Shallwani, “Alleged Russian Agent Maria Butina Moved to Virginia Jail, Unclear Why,” The Daily Beast, 2018.08.18].

The Russian Embassy hurried to check on Butina in her new cell and says the United States is mistreating the Red Fox:

We grow more worried about the situation with Maria Butina, a student, who was arrested by U.S. authorities under clearly unfounded accusations. Her situation is getting worse. Attempts are obviously made to “break” her under additional humiliations and psychological pressure.

For instance, the Embassy learned, that after a month in Washington prison Maria had been transferred on Friday evening to a prison in Alexandria, VA without any notice. In addition to that, all her personal belongings, including books, towels, sneakers and personal hygiene items were taken from her.

Her confinement in a DC prison ended with a humiliating strip search. It is outrageous that Maria was transferred in shackles. With that, nobody bothered to tell her what was happening and where she was being taken.

Next 12 hours she spent in a quarantine cell with no food, the lights turned on and almost without sleep. Now she will have to endure an “administrative segregation” (isolation) regime. She will be locked in a solitary confinement cell.

We have more and more questions to the U.S. justice system. Should allegations pressed against Maria before the actual trial condemn her to practices that are slightly below torture? It seems that the reason behind the U.S. decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council was to give the U.S. authorities green light for such provocations.

Russian diplomats paid our fellow citizen an urgent visit in the new prison. We will continue to strive for Maria’s freedom. The U.S. Department of State will receive another demarche with a rigorous assessment of unacceptability of the methods our citizen has to suffer, demanding a normal, humane response to current developments.

We expect human rights organizations to strictly condemn the U.S. actions. This lawlessness must be stopped [Russian Embassy, Facebook post, 2018.08.18].

Russian news outlet RT calls that treatment “borderline torture.”

Two miles from Butina’s jail, Alexandria lawyer Gregory M. Wade is serving as trustee for a new fundraising effort, launched Thursday under to solicit donations to “help Maria and her team mount the strongest defense possible.”

Maria Butina Fundraising page
How many Americans have heard this line before?

Tennessee lawyer Kiline Preston, who helped connect Butina’s handler, Russian bank official Alexander Torshin, with NRA honchos, says Butina isn’t a Russian spy, because if she were, she’d have tried to use him to get close to a Republican member of Congress:

Q: It’s been a month since Maria Butina was arrested, and since the accusations of her efforts to infiltrate the NRA were made public. She’s still in detention — how did you react to her arrest? What do you make of the accusations that she’s a Russian agent? 

Preston: Who knows how long she’ll be in [detention]. My view is, her prosecution is not what it seems. It’s got to be for some other purpose, which I’m not privy to. This girl is living totally in the wide open — she’s not doing anything. She’s not like a Chinese spy, taking stuff from GM or GE or some tech company and taking it back to China. I mean, she’s just openly trying to get involved, or at least be a visible face with people in politics.

I’ll tell you something that nobody’s ever asked me, but I’ll tell you — I have access to Marsha Blackburn. Neither [Butina] nor Torshin ever asked me to meet her, or anything. And she’s an NRA person. So if that were really the plan, to infiltrate the party or whatever, why not add another Republican congressman to your group of people, right?… But no one ever asked me, and I think that’s kind of significant. Because if they were really up to something sinister, Marsha’s pretty high. I mean, why not? That’s one [where they wouldn’t] need anything, they [could] just call me and say, “Hey I want to meet her” [Casey Michel, “Lawyer Linking NRA and Russia Finally Comments on Arrest of Maria Butina,” ThinkProgress, 2018.08.14].

Butina’s fake South Dakota boyfriend Paul Erickson, who did introduce Butina to a South Dakota Republican aspiring to be a member of Congress, remains out of sight:

The big question is: Where is Paul Erickson?… That’s the big question… Nobody can find him, far as I understand [Preston, in Casey, 2018.08.14].

Maybe Paul will forgive Maria’s dupage (or did he dupe her, that Sioux Falls paper asked last weekend), send her some money, and pop up to pay her a visit in her new cell in Alexandria.


  1. Rorschach 2018-08-19 10:47

    Jail appears to be denying both of the detainees – who are still presumed innocent – cosmetic and hair products. Maria needs makeup and curling irons. Manafort needs makeup and grecian formula. They both probably need manicures and pedicures.

    Does this rise to the level of torture? It may seem that way to both of them, but I doubt if the Geneva Convention would agree.

  2. mike from iowa 2018-08-19 11:09

    This girl is living totally in the wide open — she’s not doing anything. She’s not like a Chinese spy, taking stuff from GM or GE or some tech company and taking it back to China. I mean, she’s just openly trying to get involved, or at least be a visible face with people in politics.

    The Chinese weren’t, as far as I know, laundering money through the NRA. She wasn’t necessarily taking as much as delivering to America. Call her a subterfuge. A distraction from real criminal activities.

  3. chris 2018-08-19 15:29

    Sounds like Lee Schoenbeck must have a grudge against ol’ Paul to throw him to the russian mafia this way:

    “Anybody who doesn’t think he’s not conning those Russians doesn’t know Paul,” said Schoenbeck.

  4. jerry 2018-08-19 17:01

    Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Comrade Dusty pines away the days singing the blues and thinking about what a great motivator his sex kitten was. Meeeooow.

  5. Rorschach 2018-08-19 20:21

    Schoenbeck had one too many negatives in that statement. Removing the offsetting negatives, Schoenbeck’s statement actually means, “Anybody who thinks he’s conning those Russians doesn’t know Paul.”

    You know, I’m all for conning the Russkies. If Erickson did that, more power to him. He apparently conned his way into Butina’s pants at the very least – and she’s the one that went to jail.

    This Butina woman, it wouldn’t surprise me if her real name is Putina. Vlad’s daughter?

  6. Debbo 2018-08-19 22:25

    It’s a trumpelstilskin diversion. Look! The Chinese!


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