Updated: April 26, 2019 / 1:03 AM
On Friday, Maria Butina was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison after the Siberia native begged a judge for mercy while expressing deep regret for conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate a gun rights group and influence U.S. Republicans and conservative activist groups.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a prison term sentence that was equal to what the prosecutors requested. Butina will also be deported back to Russia after she completes her prison term. The verdict included the nine months Butina has already served in jail since her arrest in July, meaning she now only has nine more months to serve.
Butina’s lawyer, who is a graduate student at the American University in Washington and who also publicly advocated for gun rights, had requested Judge Tanya Chutkan to consider a sentence that matched the time that Butina has already served in jail so to allow her to return to Russia.
Wearing a green prison jumpsuit, Butina begged Judge Tanya Chutkan for mercy, calling her “dear judge.”
“For all the international scandal my arrest has caused, I feel ashamed and embarrassed. My parents taught me the virtue of higher education, how to live life lawfully, and how to be good and kind to others,” Butina said.
“I have three degrees, but now I’m a convicted felon with no job, no money, and no freedom,” she added. “I destroyed my own life,” Butina, at one point, 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,” she stated.
“Now I beg for mercy, for the chance to go home and restart my life,” she said. Butina’s lawyers downplayed her crime, claiming it was a simple failure on her behalf for not notifying the Justice Department of her activities on Russia’s behalf.