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Russian Agent Maria Butina: Trail Postponed until Thursday

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A U.S. judge today postponed Maria Butina’s plea agreement hearing until Thursday.
Butina is expected to plead guilty of being a Russian agent who conspired with Russians and Americans to throw the election to Trump, funnel cash to the NRA and other political figures, and soften U.S. foreign policy towards Moscow. Thursday will be an important news day if this plea hearing schedule holds. She was charged in July, and originally pleaded not guilty. The court considered her a high flight risk. She’s been in jail for months.-Boing Boing

Washington (CNN)
Maria Butina, an accused Russian spy who nuzzled up to the National Rifle Association before the 2016 election, has begun cooperating with federal prosecutors after agreeing to a plea deal in recent days, according to a source familiar with the matter.

News that Butina had seemed to reach a deal with federal prosecutors first broke earlier Monday when her attorneys and prosecutors filed a two-page request on Monday for a “change of plea” hearing before a federal judge. “The parties have resolved this matter,” the filing in DC federal court said Monday morning. Butina’s case was brought by federal prosecutors in DC and not by Robert Mueller’s team in the special counsel’s office.-CNN

Her cooperation will mainly focus on telling investigators about the role of her boyfriend Paul Erickson and her interactions with her Russian handlers. A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office in DC declined to comment. Butina’s lawyer declined to comment for the story. A lawyer for Erickson also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.-CNN

According to the agreement, revealed to CNN, Butina “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official (‘Russian Official’) and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General.”-CNN

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