September 10, 2018 / 6:53 PM / in 2 months

U.S. judge declines to release accused Russian agent Butina pending trial

FILE PHOTO: Maria Butina appears in a police booking photograph released by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2018. Alexandria Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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 organisation.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch

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