09:46 GMT07 April 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian national Maria Butina’s next status hearing has been set for 28 March, Judge Tanya Chutkan said during a hearing at the District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

    US prosecutors during the hearing on Tuesday asked for more time to finish the investigation. The judge asked prosecutors to alert defense whether they will be ready to convert the status hearing into sentencing within four weeks.    

    According to Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll, the US court may sentence Russian national in the beginning of April. 

    US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said that Maria Butina's cooperation "is still needed."

    Meanwhile US Prosecutor Erik Kenerson said that cooperation with Butina was "ongoing," and asked that the judge therefore further delay a sentencing date for the Russian national.   

    READ MORE: US Prosecutors Ask Court to Maintain Gag Order in Butina Case — Filing

    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. 

    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.    

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said US authorities browbeat Butina into confessing by creating unbearable detention conditions and threatening her with a long prison sentence.       


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