Bamford’s Silence about How Maria Butina Got Thrown Back into Solitary

A number of people have asked me what I make of this piece from James Bamford, pitching the case against Maria Butina as a grave injustice, just after Paul Erickson (who may be the real intended beneficiary of this piece) was charged in the first of what is likely to be two indictments, and as the government extends her cooperation by two weeks.

There are parts that are worthwhile — such as his argument that because Butina didn’t return a bragging email from JD Gordon, it suggests she wasn’t trying to recruit him.

There are other parts I find weak.

Bamford oversells the degree to which the press sustained the serial honeypot angle — after all, some of us were debunking that claim back in September, when he appears to have been silent — without mentioning the fact that Butina first started proffering cooperation with prosecutors, presumably against Paul Erickson and George O’Neill, on September 26. The word “visa” doesn’t appear in the article’s discussion of Butina’s status as a grad student, leaving unrebutted the government’s claim that Butina chose to come to the US as a student because it provided travel privileges that served her influence operation. Bamford (who hasn’t covered the Mueller investigation) grossly overstates the significance of Mueller’s choice not to integrate Butina’s case into his own investigation. He also falsely treats all counterintelligence investigations into Russia as one ongoing investigation (see this post for my ongoing complaints about virtually everyone doing the same). He suggests that Butina will need to be traded for Paul Nicholas Whelan, when the government has already said she’ll be deported once she serves her sentence (which will likely be time served). He quotes Putin’s interest in Butina’s case, without noting that Russia has only shown the interest they showed in her in one other defendant, Yevgeniy Nikulin. And those are just a few of the details with which I take issue.

But these passages, in particular, strike me as problematic.

Since August 17, Butina has been housed at the Alexandria Detention Center, the same fortresslike building that holds Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. On November 10, she spent her 30th birthday in solitary confinement, in cell 2F02, a seven-by-ten-foot room with a steel door, cement bed, and two narrow windows, each three inches wide. She has been allowed outside for a total of 45 minutes. On December 13, Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation. She faces a possible five-year sentence in federal prison.


On November 23, 2018, Butina went to sleep on a blue mat atop the gray cement bed in her cell, her 81st day in solitary confinement. Hours later, in the middle of the night, she was awakened and marched to a new cell, 2E05, this one with a solid steel door and no food slot, preventing even the slightest communication. No reason was given, but her case had reached a critical point.

That’s true not just for the way Bamford obscures the timeline here — suggesting she was always in solitary — but because by obscuring that timeline, Bamford serves to hide that it was Bamford’s own communications with and about Butina that got her thrown back into solitary.

Butina’s lawyers laid out her protective custody status in a filing on November 27.

In addition to general population prisoners, the Alexandria detention center houses federal detainees awaiting trial before this court in “administrative segregation,” more commonly known as solitary confinement. This form of restrictive housing is not a disciplinary measure, but is purportedly used by corrections personnel to isolate inmates for their own protection or the safe operation of the facility.


Between her commitment at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington, DC and then Alexandria detention center, Ms. Butina has been isolated in solitary confinement for approximately 67 days straight. Despite a subsequent release into general population that came at the undersigned’s repeated requests, correctional staff reinstated her total isolation on November 21, 2018 although no infraction nor occurrence justified the same.

The timeline they lay out makes it clear Butina was in protective custody from July 15 to around September 21, but then placed in the general population. The timeline is absolutely consistent with Butina agreeing to cooperate in order to get placed in general population (the motion to transport her was submitted September 21, so at the same time she was placed in the general population). The fact that the government uses solitary to coerce cooperation from prisoners deserves condemnation, and that definitely seems to have been at play here.

But even at a time she had active orders to be transported for cooperation (the court authorized a second request for transfer from late October through the time she pled guilty), Butina was placed back in solitary. The timeline her defense attorneys lay out, however, suggests that Bamford was incorrect in stating she was in solitary on her birthday on November 10. She wasn’t moved back to solitary until November 21.

On the afternoon of November 21, 2018, counsel received a never-before urgent phone call from a jailhouse counselor regarding Ms. Butina. The basis for that call was her return to solitary confinement. The undersigned called Chief Joseph Pankey and Captain Craig Davie in Alexandria in response. After conferring with them, however, it has become clear that the facility’s use of administrative segregation is a false pretext to mask an indefinite solitary confinement that is unjust and without cause.

Staff purported to base their decision to segregate on Ms. Butina referring a fellow inmate to her lawyers (that is, she gave her lawyers’ phone number to a fellow inmate), but staff did not find a disciplinary violation—major or minor. Chief Pankey and Captain Davie then resorted to the decision being “for her safety,” knowing that administrative segregation disallows an appeal internally.

As of the date of this filing, Ms. Butina has now been in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day for 6 consecutive days with no prospective release date. According to at least one deputy, the move to solitary confinement has also not been entered into the Alexandria detention center computer system, and Ms. Butina’s status is disclosed only by a piece of tape with handwriting attached to the guard stand.

And that’s important because of a detail that Bamford remains utterly silent about.

As laid out in a hearing transcript, around that time, the government recorded calls from Butina to “certain journalists” suggesting the journalist consult someone who had her lawyers’ first name.

DRISCOLL: The conflict raised by the government, I think the government does not think there’s been any violation of order by defense counsel, but due to circumstances regarding recorded calls that the government had of Ms. Butina and to certain journalists, the government raised the concern to us; and we wanted to raise it with the Court so that there would be no question when the plea is entered that the plea is knowing and voluntary, and we wanted to kind of preemptively, if necessary, get Ms. Butina separate counsel briefly to advise her on her rights, to make sure that she got her constitutional right to conflict-free advice.


MR. KENERSON: The basic nature of the potential conflict is that this Court, I think, issued in an order back in September regarding Local Rule 57.7. The government has some jail calls from Ms. Butina in which she is talking to a reporter numerous times on those calls. She makes some references on those calls to individuals who could be — we don’t know that they’re defense counsel, but shares first name with defense counsel potentially acting as go-between at a certain point. That’s part one of the potential conflict. Part two is —

THE COURT: Wait. So, wait. Stop. Part one is a potential conflict. Do you see a conflict because you believe she’s acting at the behest of her attorneys or as a conduit for her attorneys to violate the Court’s order?

MR. KENERSON: It’s — someone viewing that in the light least favorable to defense counsel might be able to argue that this is some quantum of evidence that defense counsel possibly were engaged in assisting Ms. Butina in violating the Court’s order.

THE COURT: All right. But that goes to whether counsel, with the aid of his client, violated my — and I’ll use the colloquial term for it, my “gag order.” How does that go to — and maybe you’ll tell me; I cut you off. But how does that go to the voluntariness of her plea?

MR. KENERSON: So if there is an allegation that defense counsel assisting her somehow in violating the, again, to use the colloquial term the “gag order,” that would give defense counsel a reason to want to basically plead the case to avoid that potential violation from becoming public. And curry favor with the government.

Driscoll went on to explain why his client was talking to a journalist with whom she had a friendship that “predates all of this” in spite of her being subject to a gag order.

The circumstances, just so the Court’s aware, Ms. Butina has a friendship with a particular journalist that predates all of this. The journalist was working on a story about Ms. Butina prior to any of this coming up, prior to her Senate testimony, prior to her arrest, and had numerous on-the-record conversations with her prior to any of this happening. At the time the gag order was entered, I took the step of informing the journalist that, although he could continue to talk to Ms. Butina, he could not use any of their post gag-order conversations as the basis for any reporting, and the journalist has not, in any event, made any public statement or done any public reporting on the case to date.

Bamford’s own description of “a number of long lunches starting last March at a private club in downtown Washington, D.C.” make it clear he is the journalist in question.

Judge Chutkan was none too impressed with Driscoll’s advice.

THE COURT: Well, putting aside the questionable advisability of having your client talk to a reporter while she is pending trial and there’s a gag order present — and I understand you told the reporter that they couldn’t make any public statements, but as a former criminal defense attorney myself, I find that curious strategy.

Now, to be clear: Bamford never did publish anything on Butina during the period when the gag was in place (Chutkan lifted the gag on December 21). Even if Bamford had published something during that period, so long as Bamford did respect Driscoll’s advice that their ongoing conversations should be off the record, there was nothing Bamford could publish that would directly reflect her own statements.

And there’s very good reason to question whether the government threw Butina back into solitary because Bamford was reporting on her treatment. That is, it’s not outside the realm of our criminal justice system that Butina was placed back in solitary because a reporter had been tracking her case since before the investigation became public.

Instead of laying out the case for that, however, Bamford instead hides his own role in the process.

To be honest, I think the story is better understood as one about Paul Erickson and not Maria Butina. This story won’t help her at sentencing — that’s going to be based on her cooperation, not what a journalist who has already antagonized the government says about her. But it may help to spin Erickson and George O’Neill’s interest, as well as that of the NRA.

The public record certainly sustains the case that the government used solitary to induce Butina to cooperate — presumably to cooperate against Erickson and O’Neill. That certainly merits attention.

But then the government also used solitary to cut off Butina’s communications with Bamford himself. If it’s this story the government was retaliating against, Bamford should say that, rather than obscuring it.

This is a story about America’s reprehensible use of solitary confinement. But it doesn’t explain a key part of that process here. Given that the story seems to most benefit Erickson, I find that silence remarkable.

59 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I’m wondering if she was trying to use Bamford as a conduit for messages that she didn’t want heard by the feds, because I’m sure she knows that her phone calls are monitored if not recorded.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Would that have been taking a page out of Paulie Manafort’s book or vice versa?  Enquiring minds want to know.  :-)

  2. BobCon says:

    Bamford’s unfamiliarity with the case seems like it is a result in part of the same thing that makes Haberman and Schmidt’s reporting so weak — there is no authoritative set of facts and analysis available against which reporters can check their work, or validate their theses. Or, if they are determined to parrot sources, against which they can be held accountable.

    What the right wing has done in the past is connect an oligarch with a pseudo expert, someone like Corsi, to fund and generate a working theory and set of facts to support their story of a scandal.

    The left has really missed an opportunity to create a legitimate, honest Trump-Russia version of the crackpot scandal machine of the right. Back around Inauguration Day, it would have been worth the while of liberal money to launch this effort — if Steyer had a clue about how impeachment works, he would have contributed, insisted that they hire serious reporters and analysts, and then gotten out of the way and let them work.

  3. Shaun Mullen says:

    @ P J Evans:

    Yes, that was an opportunity blown (and remains blown), but there are some damned good, in-depth scandal timelines out there. My own personal timeline runs to over 100 printout pages and I’ve included only the important stuff, not every time Trump opened his pie hole and the right-wing media swooned.

  4. SomeGuyInMaine says:

    Paul Erickson has seemed to be in the crosshairs for sometime. I’ve wondered if the goal is to get him to be a cooperating witness. Seems like there more to the Russian and other foreign money and the NRA story.

    This will be interesting as it unravels

  5. Rapier says:

    TNR? I like probably most here gave up on TNR 25 years ago in the Andy Sullivan days when it started dawning on me something was badly amiss in Liberal land. Well Clinton said that. The Bell Curve the final straw. To be specific neoliberalism but I didn’t know that name yet. This might be the first time I’ve ever been on the site. It seems to still be sort of pro forma liberal but where does this come in? I’ve not paid attention to the ownership ping pong.

  6. Valley girl says:

    Could someone help me out here? 

    So, Driscoll was trying to argue that a “gag order”  really doesn’t pertain, if the person under the “gag order” is talking to a long-time friend (Bamford)? 

    I think it’s fair to assume that Bamford would have known that Butina was under a “gag order”.  I assume that it surely must be the case that Butina was culpable in violating the “gag order”,  but what kind of legal exposure would/could Bamford have for “colluding” to violate the “gag order”?  Serious question, not a rhetorical one.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m struggling with the idea that Bamford and a twenty-something Russian woman living with Paul Erickson, shepherded by Torshin, are long-time friends.

      • coral says:

        Yes.Very interesting relationship. Frankly, so much of this reads like a great spy thriller. What a vivid cast of characters!

        • Rayne says:

          That, right there. This ~is~ a spy thriller before Hollywood gets to it; eventually there will be a snazzy high-dollar production glitzing up this ‘cast’ even more. At worst it will look like All the President’s Men with a heart throb cast to play some twit just as Robert Redford played Bob Woodward. My money is on red-wigged Shailene Woodley to play Butina.

          It’s why I part with Marcy on the use of solitary confinement specifically in Butina’s case* because on the face of it she was a spy even if the charges against her were for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government and not espionage under Title 18 Ch 37 (which is written around undermining defense activities and not undermining other non-defense critical systems).

          Nothing she did in the U.S. was on behalf of increasing Russian gun rights. Her project was ostensibly working on diplomacy with the U.S. but that does nothing for Russian gun rights. The poor, feckless student routine Bamford bought into is a bunch of crap, as well — as if she was really studying hard on anything academic.

          And Bamford credulously reports the poor girl’s been misunderstood. Bah. She’s going to transmit information any way she can, a gag order won’t stop her long.


          EDIT — 12:00 AM 14-FEB-2019 —

          * Emphasis mine — get this straight that I do not share the same opinion with Marcy on this point.

          Secondly, fuck all the way off, Jeff. / ~Rayne

        • MattyG says:

          It kills me that she is always characterized in the press as a “gun rights activist” without irony or eleboration… who happens to be a Russian agent. I’m still waiting to read “Russian agent acting in the guise of a gun rights activist to infiltrate right win…”

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t know what his definition of “long time’ is – but I will bet that she flatters his manhood ego a lot, while getting lots of information from him.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That seems as odd as that the media does not challenge her cover story about being a gun rights advocate in an authoritarian state and that that was the basis for her interest in the American NRA, renowned for decades as being a significant lobbying and financial conduit to the GOP.

        • P J Evans says:

          An authoritarian state that doesn’t allow private ownership of firearms, AIUI. That one is so easy to check, and so obviously weird as a reason, that I’m surprised so many people buy it who should know better.

        • Rayne says:

          Nobody growing up in Russia, especially in a more rural area, would be this naive about gun rights. I think one of the tests they applied to her was her work organizing gun rights proponents in Russia — now Putin knows the identity of 100K of them thanks to her efforts. ~smh~

  7. Njrun says:

    Butina’s speaking to Bamford and seemingly suggesting he communicate with others is interesting. Really, the big question about Butina is what game she is playing. Where do her loyalties lie? What do her handlers want her to do in prison? How do they tell her what they want? Is she truly cooperating or is it pretend cooperation like Manafort? That she has to be in solitaire in order to stop her from sending messages suggests the latter.

    The piece is unbelievably credulous about her story. Nobody could take seriously that this woman started a real gun-rights movement in Putin’s Russia and had an honest partnership with the NRA, or that she had a genuine interest in American fundamentalist religion that led to contacts between oligarchs and the Jesus movement in the US. Guns and religion, and political contacts with Americans, are under state control in Russia.

    And when I read the piece, I kept checking to see that I wasn’t reading the Nation or the Intercept. I stopped subscribing to TNR when it went neocon in the 1980s, but I mostly respect the articles I have seen in recent years. This was a grotesque piece of propaganda.

  8. chicago_bunny says:

    Bamford just ignores what’s in her plea, of course. For example, who is the Russian official she has pled guilty to being in a conspiracy with? It must be Torshin, but Bamford spends the article downplaying their relationship as one like a grandparent and grandchild. Wouldn’t a good journalist want to know why she would enter that plea?
    I also find it surprising that Bamford does not address the fact that Butina was able to ask candidate Trump a question in 2015, despite that he talks about her meetings with other people in Las Vegas at that time. Though I find the explanations implausible, he does offer some for things like the note that was discovered “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?” If there was an innocent explanation for the Trump question, you would think he would have offered it.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Darling Chuck Todd was able to identify that the Grand Havana cigar club is not far from Trump Tower in NYC.  He has yet to identify what a five-second Internet search would reveal:  Its 17,000 square feet, in the heart of Manhattan, is on the 39th floor of 666 Fifth Avenue, a building owned by son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s family business.  It is widely believed that the mortgage on that property exceeds the building’s market value.  Where’s the Qatar press when you need it, Chuck?

    • Rayne says:

      Amazes me how much material commercial media misses by failing to check Google Maps. Like Trump friend Howard Lorber’s one-time office location in the neighborhood of Trump Tower — the same guy who’s number appeared as blocked on Junior’s cell phone in June 2016.

      • Just Rob says:

        I checked out the Grand Havana via google maps and found this review:

        Great place for colluding with Russian intelligence agents to trade sanctions relief for help with a presidential election. I’d recommend trying the Polling Data.

        Pretty funny

        • G Holland says:

          LOL! It really does say that! I thought maybe you were kidding, but I’m delighted to see that so many of us are sharing our thoughts & comments publicly.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I used to be a fairly big wheel at Groklaw (under another nym) and we were all continually amazed at how much the mainstream press got wrong when they could simply have Googled the relevant information. It’s like they had an agenda or something…

        • Rayne says:

          I tend to think it’s a combination of laziness and bad habits. Most don’t have the smarts to have a real agenda because if they did they’d be working in Marketing/PR instead of journalism. PR pays well, journalism doesn’t.

        • P J Evans says:

          My experience is that a lot of people really don’t know how to use search engines. They can’t pick out the important terms, so they can’t find stuff that they should be able to find. (But then, I worked with a few people who couldn’t read maps or find alternate routes home, despite working with maps for at least 40 hours a week.)

      • Eureka says:

        LOL, who knew you all and your google maps of Midtown would be the tipping point into a rabbit hole.  Years ago, a friend’s mom kindly sent us to a Les Mis matinee.  As we’re walking around, I look up and go ~ “Omg (or whatever time-apropos exclamation), there’s Trump Tower, wanna go see it?”  To put this in perspective, on voyages to the real grocery store (this was in school) others of us had also gawked at the mass-produced-brand head cheese on offer (no offense to the nose-to-tailers out there, there was no such pan-cultural ‘American’ vogue for offal at the time (see:  Trump Tower), much less pricey pre-packaged varietals).

        And so we ascend the escalator:  Yup, it’s gold.  Lots of gold.  Gold.  Yeah, gold.  Remarking on the highly overpriced coffee for sale broke the monotony of the convo on descent.  Mission:  Schadenfreude for Objects, Completed.  On to the show.

        Anyway, we’d stopped at the GE Building and got a Late Night with David Letterman shirt, just before this glimpse as I recall (and of course the topics here periodically trigger one to recall such a moment).  So I finally went and reconciled some mental maps.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Indeed.  And I forgot the nugget that one of the Grand Havana Room cigar club’s long-time board members – at least for its NYC location – is Rudy 911.

      You’d think a big-time MSM breaking news outlet would keep a file on that sort of thing, available to news readers like Chuck Todd at the ping of an ear bud.

      • harpie says:

        @SpicyFiles is wondering:  

        August 2, 2016 Havana Club mtg w Manafort,Gates & Kilimnik (our IC states is linked to Russian Intel) // I do not recall in ANY court filing the Govt/Manafort stating he was a member of the “private” club // If Manafort not a member then who’s member did he use? / […] [Don Jr?] / […] 

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Nice catch.  And you haven’t the resources of Chuck Todd!

          I hear the Grand Havana Room membership is by invitation from an existing member only – and passing the usual voting hurdles.  The usual arrangement for such clubs is that non-members must always be accompanied by and have their bill at least nominally paid (reimbursement or quid pro quo aside) by a member.

          As you say, who made the club available and paid the tab?  Has that person any connection with the Trumps or Kushners?  What connection is that?

        • Rayne says:

          And this about membership:

          The Grand Havana Room
          Don’t let the devilish address scare you away; this place is about as hellish as New York City is tropical. The Grand Havana Room indirectly asserts itself as the mother of all New York City cigar lounges. It’s a mere three blocks away from Rockefeller Center, and it offers breathtaking views of the concrete jungle. It boasts a full walk-in humidor and a restaurant with top-notch service. The Grand Havana Room, however, is a members-only establishment, so it’s somewhat shrouded in a veil of mystery. But never fear; all you have to do is become friends with Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Sharpton or any of the many other elites who hold a membership card, and you’re in.

          The Grand Havana Room, 666 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 245 1600

          EDIT — adding this backgrounder on 666 5th from back in 2017 in case I need it for future reference. :-)

        • punaise says:

          yuck. no thanks.

          and screw them for appropriating the music of Buena Vista Social Club for the video (now there’s a club worthy of respect).

      • harpie says:

        @SpicyFiles has more:

        [..] Grand Havana Room owner is: Stan Shuster He has a NYC & Beverly Hills locations. Perfect marriage of Wall St Tycoons & Hollywood Money / [link to: 2006Grand Havana Enterprises, Inc enters into licence agreement for Moscow Club” ] / 2008 OFFICIAL Moscow Opening “has the glitz and glamour of old Russia,” says Stan Shuster [link] / [They deregistered with SEC in 2006] [link] /

  10. Valley girl says:

    I hope some legals will weigh in, because I’d still like to know what if any legal exposure Bamford has for talking to Butina while she was under a “gag order”.

    • G Holland says:

      Generally a gag order prohibits discussion of specific/specified matters related to the litigation itself, with the goal of minimizing (or eliminating) public dissemination of sensitive info. So if Butina & Bamford were already Such Great Pals and had harmless phone chats to catch up on the hottest Grammy nominees, a gag order wouldn’t generally prohibit those communications.

      But it’s not a boilerplate form, so they have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see exactly how the gag order in any particular case is worded.

      And often, gag orders are mutually agreed on anyway…the defendant wants protection and a “fair” trial (unless he’s Roger Stone); the prosecutor wants privacy to prepare the case without seeing all his strategies on the front pages; the judge wants to be left alone until she chooses to turn on the spotlight.

      There’s a helpful short article on the Yale Law/Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic web page. I’ll post the link in just a second.

    • punaise says:

      You’re on to something here. Or some dismally nihilistic misanthrope line Lars von Trier (minus the misogony please)

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      “O Brother, it’s Paul Erickson on the Line Again!” or maybe “Burn After Banging”?

      Kidding aside, all the minor Trump scandal players are exactly like Coen brother characters.

  11. ewan says:

    A MotherJones article gives a detailed timeline of the activities of Maria-the-naive-student. There is even a video she filmed of John Bolton. Oh well, as long as she isn’t connected to anyone in the WH, all is well.

    • G Holland says:

      She filmed a video of John Bolton?

      Are we sure it wasn’t John Holmes? Or, I guess that should be Джон Холмс….

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Short of a pardon, Paulie will have his stay at Club Fed extended for the remainder of his days.

    How many minutes will it be before Sorceress Sarah pulls a Sgt. Schulz and claims that Donald Trump knows nussink about Manafort’s felonies?  And knows nothing about why his campaign manager and chief campaign deputy thought it so important to meet up with a Russian linked to Russian intelligence during the height of his campaign?  And who invited Paulie, Gates and Kilimnik to the members-only Grand Havana Room on the 39th floor of Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue property?

    • posaune says:

      I’m continually surprised how incestuously-connected this bunch is — at every turn.    I read somewhere that Michael Cohen was on the Board of Directors for the Havana Club.   This snake has got to eat its tail soon.

  13. JAAG says:

    What is stopping the USA from offerring her asylum in exchange for the further cooperation. Why not dangle it to turn her.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Short of Butina having credible evidence that can put Trump behind bars, the usual process regarding foreign national spies is catch-and-release back home, on the principal that, “There but for the grace of god go my spies.”

      Separately, I note that even Chris Matthews mentioned that 666 Fifth Avenue is a Kushner-owned property, even if he had to tell his viewers that he was there “once”. Naughty Chuck Todd.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Yeah, but it’s OK; I’m sure he didn’t inhale, so he’s not that naughty.

        I got taken to Top of the Sixes for my 18th birthday. Thank goodness I can prove it was before Jared was born…

        • posaune says:

          I.M. Pei’s office was in that building (two floors), later Pei, Cobb & Freed.   It’s where they built the full-scale model of the glass staircase for Steve Jobs’ NYC condo.

  14. e.a.f. says:

    given that studies have concluded isolation/solitary confinement does nothing to promote mental health, , one would wonder why Butina was put in isolation.  If it was to “induce” her to “testify” it is not unreasonable to conclude they used isolation as a method of torture.  Not nice.  All of these people “sound” as if they a tad shy of a moral full deck.   there is no good or bad guys here, they’re all a bunch of ethically challenged people.

    Some have suggested Butina will be either traded for some one being held in Russia or deported.  What if Butina doesn’t want to go and claims political refugee status?

  15. Rayne says:

    Parking this here, personal essay published yesterday evening in Refinery29:

    Let Me Tell You About My Friend Maria Butina

    Butina and Paul Erickson were in New Jersey in June 2016:

    Nearby, Paul charmed a table of my friends with stories of celebrities he’d met while working the Oscars. None of them were verifiable; all of them were fascinating. Briefly, the conversation turned to the media spectacle that was the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Paul dismissed any talk of competition with a flick of his hand. “Trump’s going to win,” he said, confidently. I rolled my eyes. He sounded like a conspiracy theorist.

    Hmm. I wish the author would have offered the date of her birthday party.

  16. tinao says:

    I think the Nobel or Pulitzer should start a new catagory, Analysis of Political and Legal Reporting and Marcy and crew should be the first winners! Happy Valentines. :-)

Comments are closed.