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Maria Butina plea deal may be near

Attorneys for Maria Butina and the Justice Department gave more signs Thursday morning they are negotiating ...

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 6:45 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 6:45 AM

Attorneys for Maria Butina and the Justice Department gave more signs Thursday morning they are negotiating a plea deal for the accused Russian spy.

In a conference call with a federal judge in Washington, the attorneys said another upcoming hearing in the case should be canceled and that subpoenas planned for American University, where Butina was a graduate student, may be withdrawn by the end of this week.

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Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have previously indicated they were negotiating to end Butina's case.

Butina was charged this summer for illegally acting as a foreign agent for Russia and accused of trying to create a back channel for Russia through activist groups, including the National Rifle Association.

She is currently being held in solitary confinement at a Northern Virginia jail, her attorneys have said. So far, she has maintained her innocence, saying she was never a foreign agent and simply a foreign student studying in America.

If Butina were to change her plea in the case from not guilty to guilty, she would likely return to Russia.

Prosecutors previously told a court she was in touch with Russian backers and agents as she ingratiated herself with politically powerful Americans.

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