Butina Still Helping U.S. Investigators as Sentencing Put Off

(Bloomberg) -- Maria Butina’s sentencing for having worked as an unregistered Russian agent in the U.S. was put off, with prosecutors saying she’s still cooperating with investigators.

Butina made her first appearance in Washington federal court Tuesday since she pleaded guilty on Dec. 13. Her boyfriend, Republican operative Paul Erickson, was subsequently indicted on wire-fraud and money-laundering charges in South Dakota.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to schedule another hearing in four weeks, eliciting an objection from Butina’s lawyer Robert Driscoll.

"We’re in a bit of a bind," Driscoll said, explaining Butina was ready to have a sentencing date scheduled, while conceding prosecutors know things he doesn’t.

"We should be able to set a sentencing date pretty quickly," Chutkan said. The judge acknowledged Butina, who’s been in U.S. custody since her arrest in July, may have already served the bulk of any time she may get.

Chutkan, after convening a bench conference out of earshot of reporters and other onlookers, scheduled a hearing for March 28, although she said the date may be scrapped if both sides agree it’s time for Butina to be sentenced.

Butina, 30, had insinuated herself into Republican political circles and the National Rifle Association. She visited the U.S. in 2015 and 2016 and met with prominent Republicans, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump took a question from her at a conference.

The case is U.S. v. Butina, 18-cr-218, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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