Crime

Admitted Russian agent Butina to be sentenced April 26

Maria Butina appears in a police booking photograph released by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2018.
Alexandria Sheriff's Office | Reuters

Maria Butina, who has admitted to working as a Russian agent to infiltrate an influential gun rights group and make inroads with U.S. conservative activists and Republicans, will be sentenced on April 26, a judge said on Thursday.

The sentencing date was set by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan during a hearing in Washington. Butina, a former graduate student at American University who publicly advocated for gun rights, pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia. She has remained in custody since her arrest in July 2018.

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Key Points
  • Butina was charged by U.S. prosecutors in Washington, D.C., federal court with conspiring to advance Russian interests in the U.S. as an unregistered foreign agent.
  • The 30-year-old Russian citizen and purported gun rights activist came to the U.S. on a student visa in 2016, and allegedly worked to develop and "exploit" relationships with politically influential figures and organizations, including the National Rifle Association.
  • Butina had originally pleaded not guilty to prosecutors' charges. But her lawyers and federal prosecutors on Monday asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan for a hearing to change Butina's plea.