World News

Russian National Butina Seeks Hearing to Plead Guilty - Court Filing

Russian National Butina Seeks Hearing to Plead Guilty - Court Filing

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said the charges against Butina were trumped-up and called her ongoing detention unacceptable.

Butina's cooperation will mainly focus on telling investigators about the role of Erickson and her interactions with Russian officials, CNN reported.

Maria Butina, the accused Russian spy who prosecutors say gathered intelligence on American officials and political organizations, is poised to plead guilty to some charges this week, signaling a likely plea deal with the government.

Maria Butina, who was arrested in July and detained since then, is set to appear in a Washington court as soon as Tuesday, although the criminal offenses to which she is expected to plead guilty were not disclosed.

A plea is not final until it is entered in court and accepted by a judge.

The specifics of the deal for defendant Maria Butina, and whether she would agree to cooperate with USA prosecutors, was not immediately clear in court documents filed on Monday (local time).

But prosecutors have accused her of working with a Russian official and two U.S. citizens to try to infiltrate the powerful NRA lobby group that has close ties to Republican politicians including President Donald Trump, and influence Washington's policy toward Moscow.

Prosecutors have also alleged that her work was directed by a former Russian lawmaker who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for his alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

More news: Fortnite Streamer MrDeadMoth Reportedly Arrested After Allegedly Beating Wife Live on Twitch

Butina pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Butina was arrested in July and accused of ensnaring Erickson in a "duplicitous relationship", using him for cover and connections as she developed an influence operation created to "advance the agenda of the Russian Federation". They had at one point argued her outreach should be covered by constitutional protections for free speech and noted that she was not accused of attempting to steal US secrets or working with Russian intelligence. As part of the plea agreement, she will also cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation, which is not related to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

In early 2016, Erickson was in contact with a senior official on the Trump campaign, Rick Dearborn, offering to help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin before the election, with Torshin apparently the connection.

The government's complaint against Butina did not explicitly mention Trump's campaign.

Are there any links to Donald Trump?

Her social media accounts showed her mingling with senior United States politicians and posing with firearms at national gun shows.

Butina allegedly developed a personal relationship with an NRA-linked Republican activist, Paul Erickson, and lived with him.

Maria Butina in Moscow.