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, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said on Thursday.
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.
Chutkan said during a hearing in Washington that sentencing memos from prosecutors and the defense team will be due a week before the sentencing date.
Butina, 30, has admitted to conspiring with a Russian official and two Americans from 2015 until her arrest to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and create unofficial lines of communication to try to make Washington’s policy toward Moscow more friendly. The NRA is closely aligned with U.S. conservatives and Republican politicians including President Donald Trump.
The judge in February had delayed the sentencing at the request of prosecutors, who said Butina was cooperating in their ongoing investigation. Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, said at the time his client was ready for sentencing.
Russia in December accused the United States of forcing Butina to falsely confess to what it described as the “absolutely ridiculous charges” of her being a Russian agent.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham)