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May 21, 2019

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina may be nearing plea deal with federal prosecutors

December 6, 2018
Maria Butina, the leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, is accused of being a secret Kremlin agent. (/ AP)

A gun-loving Russian woman accused of being a secret Kremlin agent appears to be nearing a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors.

Attorneys for Maria Butina and the Justice Department signaled Thursday that they are negotiating a possible deal for the suspected Russian spy accused of gathered intelligence on U.S. officials and political organizations.

Prosecutors have also alleged the 30-year-old worked to develop relationships with American politicians through contacts with the National Rifle Association.

In a conference call with a federal judge in Washington, Butina’s attorneys agreed to cancel an upcoming hearing and said that subpoenas planned for American University, where Butina was a graduate student, may be withdrawn by the end of the week, CNN first reported.

Butina’s lawyers and federal prosecutors wrote in a joint court filing last week that they “remain optimistic about a pretrial resolution” of her case.

A judge last week also denied Butina’s request to be released from solitary confinement at the jail in Alexandria, Virginia, where she’s being held as she awaits trial.

Federal investigators are also reportedly eyeing Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, for espionage charges.

Lawyers for Erickson, a longtime GOP operative, received a “target letter” which indicated the Justice Department may consider charging him with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy, according to the Daily Beast.

In 2016, Erickson reached out President Trump’s campaign with an offer to set up a back-channel relationship with the Russian government through the NRA.

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