Alleged Russian agent pleads guilty to conspiracy, agrees to cooperate with authorities: report

Gun rights activist and alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy in a criminal case against her, according to ABC News. 

ABC News reports that as part of a deal with prosecutors, Butina will admit she and an unnamed person “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.”

The news network added that Butina agreed to cooperate with federal, state and local authorities as part of the deal. 

The report comes the same day federal prosecutors and defense attorneys asked a federal district court judge to set a plea hearing at the court’s earliest convenience.{mosads}

Butina was indicted in July on charges of acting as an unregistered agent of Moscow. 

Butina has been accused of acting as a Russian agent in an attempt to infiltrate organizations such as the National Rifle Association, and using personal connections to advance Russian interests.

She was charged by the Department of Justice “with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General.”

ABC News reported that sources have identified the unnamed person, who is referred to as “U.S. Person 1,” as Republican operative Paul Erickson. Butina reportedly had a multiyear relationship with Erickson. 

The “Russian official” appears to be Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ABC News reported. 

The agreement said that under the direction of the “Russian official,” Butina “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics.”

Butina signed the agreement on Saturday. The deal says that the conspiracy charge she is pleading guilty to carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

Her cooperation will mainly focus on her interactions with Russian handlers and the role Erickson played, according to CNN. A plea hearing will take place on Wednesday. 


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