US judge delays admitted Russian agent Butina’s sentencing

US judge delays admitted Russian agent Butina's sentencing
FILE - Maria Butina, a gun-rights activist, is seen at a shooting range in Moscow, Russia, April 22, 2012.

A federal judge on Tuesday agreed to delay sentencing for Maria Butina, who has admitted to working to infiltrate a gun rights group and make inroads with U.S. conservative activists and Republicans as an agent for Russia, after a prosecutor said her cooperation was continuing.

Butina, 30, has been in custody since her arrest in July.

She pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent of Russia. Butina’s attorney Robert Driscoll told U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in court on Tuesday his client is ready to be sentenced.

“From our perspective, we’re ready to go,” Driscoll said.

But the lead prosecutor in the case said the prosecution stills need Butina’s cooperation in its ongoing probe.

The judge said she is sensitive to the defense’s concerns, but agreed to postpone sentencing and hold another status conference next month.

“Ms. Butina has been detained for a substantial portion of what she would likely face,” Chutkan said. But, the judge added that “her cooperation continues to be needed by the government.”

The next status hearing is now scheduled for March 28.

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