Accused Russian Agent With SD Ties To Remain In Jail

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A suspected Russian agent with South Dakota ties will have to remain in jail.

At a hearing Monday, her attorneys failed to convince a federal judge to release Maria Butina from custody.

The judge also placed a gag order on the case, saying one of Butina’s attorneys spoke to the media in a way that can prejudice a jury.

Butina is facing conspiracy charges, accused of trying to get access to US political circles as a foreign agent.

But on Monday, prosecutors backed away from one of their key claims against Butina.

They said she did not try to trade sex for a position in a special interest group, as they claimed in their original court filing.

However the government says there’s still reason to question the depth of Butina’s commitment to her boyfriend, Paul Erickson.

Erickson is a South Dakota conservative political operative.

He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.