WASHINGTON, December 7. /TASS/. Russian citizen Maria Butina, arrested in the US earlier this year on suspicion of acting as a foreign agent, is close to entering a plea deal with federal prosecutors, The Daily Caller news portal reported on Thursday.
The paper referred to a "flurry of court filings" submitted over the past few weeks.
"According to reporters present at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., Butina’s lawyers said that a status update scheduled for Dec. 19 will likely not be necessary," The Daily Caller said.
Besides, according to court records obtained by a TASS correspondent, federal public defender for the District of Columbia A.J. Kramer was appointed as advisory counsel to Butina.
When contacted by a TASS correspondent, A.J. Kramer refused to give any comments, citing a gagging order earlier issued by Judge Tanya Chutkan.
Maria Butina’s father Valery earlier told TASS that a team of attorneys currently working on her case only receive a symbolic payment for their job. "The attorneys work out of enthusiasm simply because they are good people, they understand that the case is unfair in legal terms, which is an opportunity for them, and they could win the case. They work for free now, but they are hired, and it is unclear for how long their employer will allow them to do their job free of charge," Butin said.
Maria Butina, who studied at American University in Washington, had been arrested on July 15 ahead of the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The Russian gun rights activist is facing charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. Investigators claim that she was engaged in these activities without registering as a foreign agent at the US Department of Justice.
During a July 21 phone conversation with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded a speedy release for Butina, having deemed the charges against her as fabricated.