Maria Butina Guilty In Foreign Agent Case, Admits Clandestine Influence Scheme

Russian Maria Butina pleads guilty in effort to forge Kremlin bond with U.S. conservatives

On Thursday, Butina pled guilty under one of the charges on collision aimed at the violation of the laws on foreign agents in the US.

Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan said she found Butina "understands the nature of the charges against her and is acting on her own free will", and accepted the guilty plea, which was part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Butina is likely to face only up to six months in prison when she is sentenced in 2019. All the parties in the case agreed to reconvene at a status hearing on February 12 to assess Butina's level of assistance to the government.

The case is not directly linked to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, as well as possible obstruction of justice and potential collusion between Trump campaign-related figures and the Kremlin. It should be noted that this was separate from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The news comes a few days after the USA media reported that Butina had agreed to cooperate with United States authorities as part of a deal made with prosecutors.

According to CNN, the prosecutor in this case told the court that "Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics".

Speaking to the media in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Lavrov said U.S. prosecutors were deliberately trying to break Butina.

Butina, who is being held in solitary confinement in a northern Virginia jail, has been incarcerated since her arrest in July.

Torshin was a Russian government official who is reportedly retiring from his latest role as a deputy governor of the central bank.

Butina told the judge that she understands she is likely to be deported back to Russian Federation after serving any prison sentence.

Unnecessarily harsh treatment continued as recently as on Thursday, after Butina's plea deal.

Butina is expected to enter a guilty plea.

"Guilty", Butina said in a slight accent when asked how she wanted to plead.

As part of the plea agreement, Butina may provide information about Paul Erickson, her onetime boyfriend. "He has done nothing to harm our country and never would". She is facing a prison term of up to five years.

The "Diplomacy Project" document was crafted by Butina with help from Person 1, prosecutors said.

NRA members also received her invitation to visit Moscow and meet with high-ranking Russian politicians. Butina also attended Walker's announcement that he was running for president.

She was to remain in USA custody until her sentencing, in February or later, and was expected to continue cooperating with investigations.

Cohen alleged Trump directed him to make payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence two women who claimed to have had past sexual encounters with Trump, the Republican candidate.

He says: "They broke her down".

"Butina opined that the circumstances were favorable for building relations with a certain US political party", the statement added, in an apparent reference to the Republican Party. Later, Butina wrote a note to Torshin proposing ways to connect with incoming President Trump's advisers with the hope that he would pass it on for to Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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