06:56 GMT24 November 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Russian national Maria Butina's next court hearing in the United States has been rescheduled for February 26, a court filing revealed.

    "The joint motion to continue status conference…is granted," the court filing said on Friday. "The hearing is now scheduled for February 26, 2019 at 2:30 p.m."

    Earlier on Friday, US prosecutors and Butina's defence lawyers had requested the court move the next hearing in the case from February 12 to February 26.

    Previously, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had not heard any statements on a potential exchange of Russian national Maria Butina, who is on trial in the United States, for Paul Whelan, who was detained in Moscow and accused of espionage.

    In December 2018, the press office of the Russian Embassy in the United States said in a release that Russian diplomats have visited Maria Butina in US prison and demanded that the prison administration treats her humanely as they continue holding her in complete isolation.

    READ MORE: Kremlin on Potential Butina-Whelan Exchange: Russia Never Uses People as Pawns

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there was no reason for keeping Butina in US custody. Putin suggested the US judiciary was pushing the case through to "save its face," adding that Russia would keep an eye on the legal battle to see what happens next and assist Butina if possible.

    In July 2018, US authorities arrested Russian citizen Maria Butina after she pleaded guilty earlier to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent in the United States. Butina initially denied the charges, but in December 2018, she agreed to cooperate with the prosecution and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. Butina now faces up to five years in prison instead of the initial 15 years.


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