Accused Russian Spy, Government Seek Hearing Delay

In this Sunday, April 21, 2013 photo, 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. (AP Photo, file)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Looking for more time to negotiate “a potential resolution” to her case, attorneys for both the government and accused Russian spy Maria Butina asked a federal judge on Friday to delay a hearing scheduled for early December.

In the three-page joint filing on Friday, the attorneys in the case said the parties are in ongoing negotiations about “a potential resolution” and that this back and forth could be “hindered by simultaneously engaging in motions practice.”

The request comes a day after Butina’s attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to toss out the charges against their client on the grounds that the law under which she is charged is unconstitutional. Butina’s attorneys have agreed to withdraw that request if Chutkan delays the Dec. 6 hearings, though they will reserve the right to file it again under a new motions schedule, according to the joint motion filed Friday.

The parties request that Chutkan schedule a new hearing on Dec. 18 or 19 and delay filing deadlines accordingly.

Robert Driscoll, who represents Butina alongside fellow McGlinchey Stafford attorney Alfred Carry, did not immediately return a request for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment on the filing.

Butina is accused of acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. Prosecutors say she worked connections with political groups like the National Rifle Association to advance Russian interests in the United States.

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