Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Poised to Plead Guilty to Some Charges

The accused Russian spy Maria Butina, who prosecutors claim gathered intelligence on U.S. officials and political organizations, is poised to plead guilty to some charges in a likely plea agreement with the government, Fox News informed.

Butina pleaded not guilty, but is expected to change her plea in a hearing. The plea change was signaled in a court filing on Monday.

“The Defendant Maria Butina, by counsel, and the government, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, respectfully file this joint motion to set a change of plea hearing…at the Court’s earliest convenience,” the filing, reviewed by Fox News, stated.

Federal prosecutors have accused Butina of gathering intelligence on U.S. officials and worked towards developing ties with U.S. politicians using her contacts with the National Rifle Association, and her student status at the American University in Washington as a cover for her activities.

Prosecutors have also alleged that her work was navigated by a former Russian lawmaker who was under the sanctions of the Treasury Department due to his probable connections with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Butina was detained in July and convicted of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia. She pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Her attorneys have argued that she was a student interested in U.S. politics and the strengthening of U.S.-Russia ties.

Butina’s case is led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and not the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

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