23:20 GMT +323 October 2019
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    In this photo taken on Sunday, April 21, 2013, Maria Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization in Russia, speaks to a crowd during a rally in support of legalizing the possession of handguns in Moscow, Russia

    US Judge Appoints Advisory Counsel to Represent Maria Butina - Court Filing

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US District Court for the District of Columbia appointed an advisory counsel to Russian citizen Maria Butina, who is jailed in the United States on charges of acting as foreign agent without being registered, a court filing published on Thursday revealed.

    "The court appoints A.J. Kramer as advisory counsel to Defendant Maria Butina," the filing said without providing additional details.

    On Thursday, US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan held a telephone conference with Butina’s lawyers, who requested that parts of the conversation be closed to the public in the courtroom.

    Judge Chutkan ruled that Butina has to explain by next Monday why the transcript of the closed part of the conference call should remain sealed.

    "By December 10, 2018 at 5:00 pm the defendant shall show cause in writing why the court should not unseal the sealed portion of the transcript of the telephone conference held on December 6, 2018," Chutkan said in the court filing.

    The US authorities arrested Butina in mid-July on suspicion of acting as an agent for a foreign government without being registered. Butina, a student and political activist, has denied the accusations.

    READ MORE: Butina's Health Deteriorated as She Held in Isolation for 67 Days – Embassy

    If convicted, however, she faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

    The Russian authorities have criticized the US government for arresting Butina, insisting that the charges against her were groundless. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said the charges against Butina were trumped-up and called her ongoing detention unacceptable.


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