Maria Butina, the Russian operative who used her NRA activism to illegally infiltrate conservative political circles, says her only crime was not registering as a foreign agent, NBC News reported.
Butina, 30, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, made the comments in an interview with National Public Radio, her first interview with a U.S. media outlet since she was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in April.
"I should have registered [as a foreign agent], which I didn't. And this is why the whole this thing got started," Butina said, according to portions released ahead of the Friday broadcast of the interview on "All Things Considered."
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"But that wouldn't be appropriate to say that this was all one grand giant plan, and I'm a part of some grand giant plan," she said. "There is no proof of that."