Russian National Butina Seeks Hearing to Plead Guilty - Court Filing
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian national Maria Butina is seeking a hearing as soon as possible to change her plea on criminal charges of acting as a foreign agent for Russia in the United States, a newly published court filing showed on Monday.
"The Defendant Maria Butina, by counsel, and the government, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, respectfully file this joint motion to set a change of plea hearing in the above-captioned matter and request a hearing at the Court's earliest convenience," it said.
The parties said they were ready to conduct the hearing either on December 11 between 9 and 11 a.m., or anytime on Wednesday, or at any hour on Thursday except between 1:30 and 3:00 p.m., the document said.
"The parties have resolved this matter, and the Defendant Maria Butina remains in custody," the filing said.
Another document, signed by Butina's lawyers, said that she does not oppose the disclosing the sealed portion of a transcript of a joint telephone conference held by the court on December 6. At the time of the conference, the judge ordered most of the transcript sealed.
Butina previously pleaded "not guilty" to charges of acting as a foreign agent and conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation in the United States. After Monday's court filing, it remained unclear whether Butina would change her plea to "guilty" for one or both charges, which carry combined prison sentences of up to 15 years.
US authorities arrested Butina in mid-July. Russian authorities have criticized the US government for arresting Butina, insisting that the charges against her are groundless. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said the charges against Butina were trumped-up and called her ongoing detention unacceptable.
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