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Maria Butina seeks swift return to Russia as sentencing nears in foreign agent case

March 29, 2019

Russian agent Maria Butina asked Friday to be extradited home as soon as possible following her recently scheduled sentencing for felony conspiracy.

Lawyers representing Butina and the Department of Justice filed a joint order in federal court asking the presiding judge to sign an Order of Judicial Removal on the same day as her sentencing next month.

In an accompanying statement, Butina, 30, promised to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the execution of her removal from the country.

“I will accept a written order issued by this Court for my removal from the United States to the Russian Federation, and I waive any and all rights to challenge any provision of this agreement in any U.S. or foreign court or tribunal,” wrote Butina.

Butina, 30, was arrested last year and charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent. She pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced April 26.

Butina faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars. She has been jailed since her arrest last July, and defense lawyers said they will seek time served.

“We’re happy to see the process move forward,” defense attorney Robert Driscoll told journalists Thursday, CNN reported.

Prosecutors allege Butina, a former American University student, secretly tried to influence U.S. policy by infiltrating groups including the National Rifle Association. She has denied taking cues from Moscow, where her supporters in the Kremlin and Foreign Ministry have labeled her a “political prisoner.”

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