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Jailed Russian activist Butina signed plea deal on Dec. 8 — state attorneys

The plea offer was to expire on December 10

WASHINGTON, December 13. /TASS/. Russian citizen Maria Butina, accused by the United States of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, accepted a plea offer on December 8, according to the document, obtained by TASS.

The papers, signed by Butina, her attorneys Robert Driscoll and Alfred Carry and US attorneys Jessie Liu, Erik Kenerson and Thomas Saunders, are dated December 8. The plea offer was to expire on December 10.

The US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia rejected a TASS request for a comment, "because this is a pending case." Public Information Officer Bill Miller said no sentencing date has been set.

"A status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2019, before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan," he added.

Among other documents, Butina also signed a document which says she was not threatened or influenced to accept the plea deal.

"I fully understand this agreement and agree to it without reservation. I do this voluntarily and of my own free will, intending to be legally bound. No threats have been made to me nor am I under the influence of anything that could impede my ability to understand this Agreement fully," the document reads.

According to the plea offer, the Russian citizen rejected her right to plead not guilty, to have her case reviewed by a jury or to contest the court verdict in her case.

According to Judge Tanya Chutkan, Butina faces a prison term of up to five years or a fine of $250,000. She said that after the Russian citizen may be deported after she serves her sentence, but the decision will be made by relevant state agencies, not the court.

Butina case

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.