Accused Russian spy cooperating with US federal prosecutors

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Washington, Dec 11 (IANS) An accused Russian spy who nuzzled up to US’ National Rifle Association before the 2016 election, has begun cooperating with American federal prosecutors after agreeing to a plea deals, according to an informed source.

News that Maria Butina, 30, had seemed to reach a deal with federal prosecutors first broke on Monday when her attorneys and prosecutors filed a two-page request for a “change of plea” hearing before a federal judge, the source told CNN.

“The parties have resolved this matter,” the filing in a federal court here said on Monday.

Butina’s case was brought by federal prosecutors and not by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

According to the agreement, Butina “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the US under the direction of Russian Official without prior notification to the Attorney General”.

A plea hearing has been set for Wednesday where a judge will need to sign off on the deal.

The developments on Monday come after several weeks of hints that Butina might negotiate an end to her case — and after bumps in the case where the federal prosecutors accused the former graduate student of infiltrating Republican organisations in order to advance Russian interests, CNN reported.

Butina have maintained her innocence and insisted she was simply a foreign student interested in bettering relations between the US and Russia.

She previously pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and a second count of acting as an agent of a foreign government when she was arrested in July.



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