Alleged Russian agent close to reaching a deal with prosecutors

Alleged Russian agent close to reaching a deal with prosecutors
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Attorneys for Maria Butina, the woman alleged to be a Russian agent by U.S. prosecutors, is close to making a deal with U.S. attorneys, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing a court filing.

The court documents showed Butina's lawyers requested that filing deadlines in her case be set aside so that her attorneys and U.S. prosecutors can work out a “final agreement," according to Bloomberg.

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Butina was indicted in July on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent. She pleaded not guilty at the time and is currently being held in solitary confinement, according to her attorneys.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan granted a joint request from Butina's lawyers and prosecutors earlier this month to push back a planned status conference about the case to Dec. 19, citing progress made in working out an agreement.

Earlier this year, U.S. attorneys argued that Butina posed a flight risk as her primary connections reside in Russia and that she would likely leave her alleged U.S.-residing boyfriend and flee the country if released.

“All of Butina’s known personal ties, save for those U.S. persons she attempted to exploit and influence, reside in the Russian Federation,” prosecutors wrote in July.

“Because Butina has been exposed as an illegal agent of Russia, there is the grave risk that she will appeal to those within that government with whom she conspired to aid her escape from the United States.”

Her attorneys alleged this week in court filings that her treatment in solitary confinement is having an undue effect on Butina's mental health.

"It is the opinion of the undersigned that prolonged deprivation of human contact and interaction is starting to have a profound psychological impact on Ms. Butina," they said. "Unless the court intervenes, she will continue to be held in this manner and ultimately require the attention of mental health professionals."