11:26 GMT +317 October 2019
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    US Federal Judge to Hold Status Hearing in Russian Citizen Butina's Case

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US federal court in Washington will hold a status hearing on Wednesday for Russian citizen Maria Butina, who has been accused of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government.

    Judge Tanya Chutkan will preside over the status conference, which is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. local time, according to court documents filed at the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

    “The parties will discuss what needs to happen to prepare for trial,” Butina’s lawyer Robert Driscoll told Sputnik.

    Initially, the hearing was scheduled to take place on July 24, but it was moved to the following day.

    On July 18, Judge Deborah Robinson declined to grant Butina’s lawyers request to release their client on bail.  She instead accepted prosecutors' arguments that Butina, as a Russian citizen, could flee the United States and return to Russia to escape justice.

    US authorities arrested Butina on July 15 and has been charged with engaging in a conspiracy against the US and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

    READ MORE: Organizer: Butina Attended Meeting With Officials at Invitation as Interpreter

    The 29-year-old Russian citizen denies the accusations. Butina will remain in custody until the end of the trial. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

    The US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the Department of State cannot provide any comments concerning the arrest of Butina.


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