Prosecutors handling the case of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina now say that they were “mistaken” in concluding that Butina traded sexual favors for political access.
The revelation came in a series of pleadings filed late Friday, insisting that while prosecutors still believe Butina is a flight risk and cannot be granted bail while awaiting adjudication on charges of espionage, they were “mistaken” when they read at least one of Butina’s text messages.
The Hill reports that back in July, when Butina was charged, prosecutors accused her of “trading sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization,” because she’d sent flirtatious messages to a man who was not her boyfriend. Butina’s legal team challenged that interpretation last month, alleging that she had a close relationship with the man, who worked for a company she founded.
Prosecutors insist that the rest of their case is airtight.
The mistake may seem minor, but it comes in the same week that a judge sentenced another alleged Russian conspirator, George Papadopoulos, to a mere two weeks in prison, rather than years behind bars for his role in influencing the 2016 Presidential election.