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Accused Russian agent Maria Butina likely to plead guilty

Butina was charged with conspiring to infiltrate politically powerful U.S. organizations, including the NRA, in an effort to push Moscow's agenda.
Image: Mariia Butina speaks to a crowd in Moscow in 2013
Maria Butina speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia.AP file

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By Tom Winter

Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is likely to plead guilty as soon as this week, according to court papers filed Monday.

Lawyers for Butina and the Justice Department say in the court filing that her criminal case has been "resolved."

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The two sides have been negotiating a possible plea deal in recent weeks.

Butina, 30, is accused of acting as an agent of Russia in the Washington, D.C. area and faces charges of conspiracy and failing to register as a foreign agent.

She was arrested in July for allegedly conspiring to infiltrate politically powerful U.S. organizations, including the NRA, in an effort to push Moscow's agenda.

Butina came to the U.S. in August 2016 on a student visa. Previously, she served as a special assistant to a Kremlin crony whose description in court papers matches that of Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator and deputy head of Russia's central bank who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors say that Butina's covert work was directed by Torshin, who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in April 2018 along with several other Russian oligarchs.

As NBC News has previously reported, Torshin has been accused of having links to organized crime.