"I came here to better my life to get a degree," Maria Butina told a US federal court on Friday. "Now I'm a convicted felon with no money, no job, and no freedom." The Russian gun rights activist was sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting to conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent as part of a plea deal, though she'll serve only nine months more, with credit given for time served, reports BuzzFeed. The sentence was exactly what prosecutors had recommended, per NBC News. The 30-year-old American University grad student continued to insist that she wasn't working as a spy.
"I wished to mend (US-Russia) relations while building my resume," she said. "It was for these actions and my own ignorance that I'm here." Prosecutors, though, said she was gathering information on influential Americans and relaying them to a Russian official. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan tended to agree, ordering Butina to be deported after serving her sentence. "This was not a simple misunderstanding by an overeager foreign student," Chutkan said. To Butina, she added: "You have a future ahead of you. I wish you the best luck." (Read more Maria Butina stories.)