Russian national Maria Butina, who is facing charges of conspiracy for activities in the interests of a foreign state in the US, has no intention of giving false testimony during the trial or taking non-existent blame upon herself, her father Valery Butin told TASS on Tuesday.
The US Court for the District of Columbia earlier said the hearing, during which Butina will change her plea and can plead guilty to one or several charges, would be held on December 12. On Monday, Butina’s defense team and US federal prosecutors filed a joint motion, requesting a change-of-plea hearing. The parties requested a hearing «at the Court’s earliest convenience,» preferably as early as this week.
«I don’t know the details. <…> I spoke to her earlier today, but she didn’t say anything like that <…>, except that <…> she is not going to give false testimony against herself or anyone else or take any non-existent blame upon herself,» Butin said.
According to Maria’s father, she remains in solitary confinement where, according to previous reports, she was placed in November. Maria can communicate with her relatives over the phone only within a two-hour period when she is allowed to leave her cell.
Valery Butin explained that they did not discuss the details of the case, because the court issued a gag order.
Maria Butina, a graduate student at American University in Washington, was arrested on July 15 ahead of the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The Russian gun rights activist is facing charges of conspiracy for conducting activities in the interests of a foreign state. Investigators claim that she was engaged in these endeavors without registering as a foreign agent at the US Department of Justice.
During the July 21 phone conversation with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded Butina’s speedy release, adding that the charges against her were trumped-up.