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US judge declines to release accused Russian agent Butina pending trial

Key Points
  • A U.S. judge on Monday refused to release accused Russian agent Maria Butina from jail pending trial, deciding that she remains a serious flight risk.
  • U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan took the action even though prosecutors admitted late on Friday that they were mistaken in their previous allegation that Butina attempted to exchange sex for a job at a special interest organization.
Mariia Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization, speaks on October 8, 2013 during a press conference in Moscow. The 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. 
STR | AFP | Getty Images

A U.S. judge on Monday refused to release accused Russian agent Maria Butina from jail pending trial, deciding that she remains a serious flight risk.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sided with prosecutors, who opposed a bid by Butina's lawyers during a status hearing in the case to have her released ahead of her trial on charges of acting as an agent of the Russian government and conspiring to take actions on behalf of Russia. She has pleaded not guilty.

The judge took the action even though prosecutors admitted late on Friday that they were mistaken in their previous allegation that she had offered sex in exchange for a job at a special interest organization.

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Key Points
  • While cyber threats from Russia loom large for many European allies, the country remains a major trading partner for Italy — necessitating dialogue rather than conflict, Italy's defense minister told CNBC Sunday.
  • Italy is the EU’s second biggest exporter to Russia, selling $7.46 billion worth of goods to Moscow in 2016, or 1.7 percent of all its exports. Trade has increased since then. 
  • The leading parties of Italy's new government have long advocated an end to Western sanctions on Russia and supported fostering closer relations with the Kremlin.