Yesterday, Palmer Report brought you the story of how attorneys for alleged Russian spy Maria Butina were demanding that she be moved from solitary confinement to the general jail population. We pointed out that this was a clear sign Butina didn’t fear retribution from Vladimir Putin, which meant that – at the least – she was open to a plea deal. Sure enough, a new joint filing points to precisely that.
The U.S. government and Maria Butina’s attorneys jointly told a judge today that they’re working out a plea deal, and they need a bit more time to pull it off, and they’re “optimistic” it’ll happen soon. This filing doesn’t guarantee that a plea deal will happen, but it means it’s probable, and probably imminent. This of course leads us to the question of who all Butina could sell out in exchange for a deal.
The filing does not specifically state that they’re working on a cooperation deal, so it’s theoretically possible that Maria Butina could simply be looking to plead guilty in exchange for a modestly reduced sentence. But the joint filing means that prosecutors are on board with the idea of a deal with Butina, and under the circumstances, it’s difficult to imagine they’d be playing ball with her unless she’s offering to give other people up.
The fascinating part is that we really don’t know who or what Maria Butina can give up. We’ve all seen the documentation of her numerous meetings, events, and selfies with various Republican politicians and NRA folks, and she’s clearly connected to certain Russian officials. Which of these interactions may have been criminal, and what specifically can she provide? Looks like we’re about to find out soon.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report