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The 30-year-old gun enthusiast who turned out to be a Russian spy

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The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington.

Maria Butina pleaded guilty to acting as an undeclared Russian agent in the U.S. and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

The 30-year-old gun enthusiast operated as a Kremlin agent as she befriended National Rifle Association leaders and influential conservatives, she admitted Thursday in federal court in Washington.

“Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said at the hearing, reading from the government’s statement of facts. “Butina sought to use those unofficial lines of communication for the benefit of the Russian Federation.”

Asked by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan if she agreed with the government’s characterization of the conspiracy, Butina said yes.

Cooperation Deal

Butina, who remains jailed, faces a maximum of five years in prison, but she won’t be sentenced immediately. Her cooperation could lead to a reduced punishment. The judge scheduled a status hearing for Feb. 12.

The NRA and the Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier Thursday that any decision Butina took to help free her from detention in the U.S. would be supported by Russia.

Butina was arrested in July. While in the U.S. starting in 2015, she was working to advance Russia’s interests, reporting regularly to a senior Russian official, according to her guilty plea.

The charges were filed by the Justice Department’s national security unit and U.S. prosecutors in Washington, rather than by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As part of the plea agreement, Butina may provide information about Paul Erickson, her onetime boyfriend. Erickson matches the description of a man referred to as “U.S. Person 1” in Butina’s charging documents. The person connected her with influential Republicans and wrote in a message that he had been involved “in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and key officials of the NRA, prosecutors said.

‘Good American’

Erickson has visited Butina in jail several times this year, according to her attorney, Robert Driscoll. Bill Hurd, Erickson’s lawyer, said his client is “a good American” who “has never done anything to hurt our country and never would.”

Hurd was in the courtroom for the proceedings. He declined to comment afterward.

Butina’s admission added to the drumbeat of developments in investigations related to the 2016 presidential election, and there were several signs this week that prosecutors were receiving information from several people close to President Donald Trump.

Trump’s longtime fixer was sentenced to three years in prison and said he’d assist prosecutors, and the president’s former national security adviser acknowledged he’d sat for 19 interviews with prosecutors and provided thousands of pages of documents. A tabloid publisher with ties to Trump is cooperating, too, after admitting to federal investigators in New York that its CEO talked to people on Trump’s nascent campaign about buying and burying damaging stories that could damage the candidate.

Russia says its spy agencies had no knowledge of Butina or her activities.

“When I heard something was going on around her, for a start I asked the heads of our secret services, ‘Who is she?’ Nobody knows anything about her,” President Vladimir Putin said in a televised appearance in Moscow on Tuesday, the day after Butina said in a filing she wanted to change her plea.

Student Visa

Butina traveled to the U.S. in 2015 and entered the U.S. on a student visa in 2016 to study at American University in Washington. She reported to Alexander Torshin, the former deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, court documents show.

Torshin accompanied Butina to a variety of conservative political events. In 2015 and 2016, the pair attended at least one NRA conference and a National Prayer Breakfast, the filings say. At one conference, they met with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Butina also attended Walker’s announcement that he was running for president.

At a town-hall-style event in Las Vegas in 2015, Butina asked candidate Trump whether he would improve the U.S. relationship with Russia. Trump said he would.

Butina, who’d started an NRA-like group in Russia called the Right to Bear Arms, was already a fixture in the American gun-rights community. NRA members traveled to Russia in 2013 to attend an event she organized. Among the attendees were Torshin and David Keene, then president of the NRA.

Driscoll, Butina’s lawyer, has said his client was a legitimate university student.

The Butina matter has echoes of an earlier espionage case. In 2010, Anna Chapman and nine other “sleeper agents” working secretly in the U.S. on behalf of Russia pleaded guilty and were sent back to Moscow as part of a prisoner exchange.

Butina’s plea agreement says she is likely to be deported, but that probably wouldn’t happen before prosecutors are finished debriefing her.

Another consequence of her guilty plea is that she’s not allowed to own a gun.

Source: HindustanTimes

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4 arrested for sexual assault of spa employee

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Image: Pexels.com

Delhi Police captured four individuals after a worker of a spa center in Delhi’s Pitampura claimed she was molested and sexually exploited by its manager and a client.

A 22-year-old woman complained of rape in a spa center at Delhi’s Pitampura on Thursday.

Authorities from Maurya Enclave police station hurried to the spot and started the examination.

“On August 4, a PCR call was gotten at PS Maurya Enclave in regards to rape with a lady at a Spa Center, Pitampura Delhi. The police promptly arrived at the spot (the ocean spa center) where a victim aged 22 years along with her husband were present external the spa center and complained in regards to rape on her by the manager of the spa center and client,” said police.

She was sent to the hospital for her clinical assessment. A counselor from DCW visited her.

“She expressed that on June 30 she joined the spa on August 4 at around 6 p.m. one client came there along with the manager Rahul and requested sexual favors. Rahul offered her a soft drink, after drinking it she felt tipsy and both raped her,” said police.

A case under Sections 354A/328/376 D of IPC was registered and both the accused persons were arrested.

Source: ANI

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Gold medalist boxer became a robber in Delhi, arrested with two companions

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A burglary group has been busted in Delhi. A boxer was likewise remembered for this posse, who has additionally won gold decorations in certain contests. This posse of three individuals used to complete stealing from Baba Haridas Nagar of Delhi.

The group had looted a lady’s mobile phone in Baba Haridas Nagar on August 1. when the lady was getting back from work. The lady had let in her protest know that three unidentified individuals who had come on the motorcycle grabbed her mobile phone and took off. The police began the examination of the matter. Some CCTVs were additionally checked and individuals around were likewise addressed.

Then, at that point, on August 4, two individuals wandering in a similar region were gotten by the police. The first gave his name as Ankit (age 19 years) who hails from Jhajjar, Haryana. The other’s name is Shivam Kumar who lives in Sainik Enclave. He is additionally 19 years of age. The third is being told as a minor. The person who is there Ankit is a boxer. During interrogation, a stolen cell phone was also recovered from them.

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Unclaimed Bag, Tiffin Box in Delhi’s Rohini Spark Alarm But Nothing Suspicious Found

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Representational Image | Image Source: PTI

An unclaimed bag was found in Rohini region in delhi on Thursday, sending the security organizations like the special cell and bomb detection team soon to reach the spot and launched an investigation, police said.

After a careful review of the area, nothing suspicious was tracked down.

As per authorities, An unclaimed bag was tracked down in the parking lot close to DC Chowk, Rohini Sector-9.

A bomb identification and removal crew and sniffer canines had looked through the area, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

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