The attorney for Maria Butina backed up claims by former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne that he had a relationship with the alleged Russian spy ahead of the 2016 election.
Robert Driscoll spoke with Fox News host Laura Ingraham about his client, who is currently serving a sentence for felony charges of acting as a foreign agent of Russia, and Byrne, who implicated former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI special agent Peter Strzok in his allegations that he was directed to be in a relationship with Butina.
(Video: Fox News)
Byrne, who resigned as CEO for Overstock this week, alleged that top officials in the Obama administration had recruited him to help the Department of Justice with “political espionage,” detailing the events in wild media appearances.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 23, 2019
Byrne claimed that the FBI encouraged him in his relationship with Butina, who was attempting political lobbying of her own, and that he had informed them when things about her concerned him. Butina’s lawyers seemed to have already confirmed the relationship as a letter to the Justice Department last month revealed.
??Today isn’t the first time Patrick Byrne has told his story, he reached out to Butina’s lawyers last month and it paints a more complete picture. This letter to @TheJusticeDept @JusticeOIG and OPR was sent July 25th and it’s alarming if true. https://t.co/76jy7EZRQl pic.twitter.com/GvnOrdtj3w
— Rosie memos (@almostjingo) August 23, 2019
On Friday, Driscoll personally confirmed that Byrne and Butina had been in a relationship.
“Basically, the timeline’s right. There was a relationship that started…in 2015 and continued right up until the time she was arrested,” he said on “The Ingraham Angle.”
“I know his story sounds crazy,” he said, adding that it is nevertheless “consistent” and “can be verified through her.”
“As to the contacts with the government, my main concerns as a defense lawyer, he’s told me he gave the government exculpatory evidence,” Driscoll continued, referring to information that Byrne said he forwarded to DOJ officials.
Ingraham admitted the allegations Byrne has made against Comey, Strzok and others are “wild,” admitting that she knew the former Overstock chief from her school days.
“I’ve known Patrick Byrne since, I think, our first week in college. We were both in the same class in college,” she noted, adding that “I don’t keep in touch with him.”
Driscoll explained that he had sent a letter to the government “raising this issue and asking for an investigation.” He added that he received a reply from the office of the Inspector General indicating that the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility would be investigating.
The attorney admitted that Byrne’s allegations and the story he has shared are “wild,” noting that he had been aware of the claims before Byrne’s television appearances as the two had spoken. Driscoll told Ingraham about what really struck him after speaking with Byrne.
“What he says about Maria was generally accurate,” he said.
“I could verify most of it, so I have to take it at least seriously, at least the government should take it seriously, because the part that intersects with what I know and what I could prove is generally accurate,” he said.
Driscoll said there were “complicating factors” that played into the reasons why Byrne and Butina broke off their “romantic” relationship. But, admitting he is “no Dr. Phil,” the attorney noted that the former couple had “common interests” and had gotten together over the years.
“I wouldn’t put it as the love of anyone’s life,” he quipped.
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