RESPECT THE HUSTLE! You can say a lot of things about Maria Butina, but that lady works.

Yesterday, Butina appeared in DC Circuit Court, where Judge Tanya Chutkan just LOL'd when she asked to prettyplease be let out of jail. Apparently, Her Honor was unpersuaded by Butina's pinkyswear not to jump into the consular vehicle parked outside and disappear forever.

Which is sad, really, since the Russian spy/jet fuel dealer/grad student/party planner/Russian goodwill ambassador/firearms enthusiast is also a TV producer, poised to bring America the next smash hit -- endless videos of shirtless Vladimir Putin! BOW CHICKA BOW BOW!

ABC reports,

Dozens of pages of email correspondence between August 2015 and November 2016, obtained exclusively by ABC News, reveal Butina's hand in a pair of potentially explosive projects: appearing to arrange a meeting for a delegation of high-ranking members of the National Rifle Association with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and working with the Outdoor Channel to develop a television show highlighting Putin's "love of the outdoors" that would feature the Russian President himself.

You laugh, but ...

PLEASE GOD NO SHIRTLESS TRUMP PHOTOS! HAVEN'T WE ALL SUFFERED ENOUGH?(no photo credit -- the image was memoryholed from the White House Instagram)

Can you guess who set Butina up with the fine folks at the Outdoor Channel?

Why, yes! It was her good pals at the NRA! Remember last week we told you about former NRA President David Keene and his lobbyist wife, Donna, who decided to go into the jet fuel business with Miss Butina? Turns out that in early 2015, Outdoor Channel CEO Jim Liberatore was hot to make a program about manly stud Vladimir Putin. (LOL, WUT???)

Luckily, Donna knew just who to call. ABC reports,

"[Liberatore] wants to do a non-political short series of shows," Keene wrote, "that he would tentatively call "Putin's Russia" featuring the Russian outdoors, hunting, fishing and conservation efforts such as the effort to save the Siberian Tiger."

Butina replied to Keene's wife Donna the following month.

"We think it is a good idea," Butina wrote. "Let's plan it."

Which is how Liberatore wound up on a 2015 trip to Moscow with David Keene, Sheriff David Clarke, then-NRA board member Pete Brownell, and NRA fundraiser Joe Gregory, meeting with Butina's patron Alexander Torshin and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. As one does.

After which, the Outdoor Channel paid Butina $20,000 to use her Kremlin contacts to persuade Putin to appear on basic cable.

Which never happened because ... LOL, WTF? What did happen was that Pete Brownell, who was also on the Moscow trip, suddenly decided that he didn't want to be NRA president no more right after Butina got arrested. Which is quite a coincidence!

Oh, lookie here! It's Brownell, Butina, and Dipshit Jr at an NRA dinner in 2016.

No but seriously, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? Let's try to make sense of it by watching this touching video of Maria Butina and her boyfriend Paul Erickson lipsyncing to Beauty and the Beast, (really!)

Butina's lawyers submitted footage of the couple singing Disney at each other to prove that Butina is deeply in love with aging GOP flimflam man Paul Erickson, and would never dream of fleeing to Russia to avoid prosecution. Amazingly, hardhearted Judge Chutkan failed to recognize this great love story between a 29-year-old Russian spy and the balding 56-year-old she joked about having to have sex with, so Butina remains in jail.

Also, Judge Chutkan would like Butina's lawyers to STFU now please! WaPo reports that the judge issued a gag order in response to blatant attempts to prejudice the jury pool by slagging the prosecutors.

Chutkan then blasted Butina's attorney for giving interviews opining on his client's innocence and publicly characterizing evidence. The exchanges, the judge noted, violated court rules that bar attorneys from making public statements that could prejudice potential jurors.

"You're going all over the networks giving explanations for the evidence in this case," Chutkan said icily to Butina attorney Robert N. Driscoll. "I don't think you're going to be a witness in this case."

Do not mess with Judge Chutkan! And do not try to sexy up your case by slutshaming the defendant, Mister Prosecutor. If Her Honor was able to figure out in "five minutes" that Butina was joking in those text messages offering to have "sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization," then so could the prosecution. Golf clap for the government coming clean about their "mistaken" understanding of Butina's texts in a midnight Friday filing.

Because, really, the Russian Spy Lady is bonkers enough. No need to make shit up!

Tune in next week when we find out that Butina was part of secret plot to inseminate polar bears with penguin sperm and engineer a Russian takeover of Antarctica using mutant, amphibious Pengua-Bear hybrids. PROBABLY.


Follow your FDF on Twitter!

[WaPo / ABC]

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Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Photo by Wonkette operative 'Zippy W. Spincycle'

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