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Prosecutors in talks with accused Russian agent Maria Butina to resolve case

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U.S. prosecutors and defense lawyers are in talks potentially to resolve a criminal case accusing gun-rights activist Maria Butina of acting as a Russian agent to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the United States and influence U.S. foreign policy toward Russia.

The parties “continue to engage … in negotiations regarding a potential resolution of this matter,” they wrote in a joint filing on Friday, without elaborating on what a resolution may entail.

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The filing also asked a federal judge to delay a status hearing on the case scheduled for Dec. 6 and said that defense lawyers are poised to withdraw motions they filed on Thursday asking for the case to be dismissed if the judge agrees to delay the hearing.

Judge Tanya Chutkan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the delay later on Friday, and scheduled a new hearing for Dec. 19.

Robert Driscoll, attorney for Butina and who is under a media gag order imposed by the judge in the case, declined to comment when asked whether his client may plead guilty in order to resolve the case.

Butina, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, has been held in a federal jail since her arrest over the summer.

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The former American University graduate student was charged in July with acting as an agent of the Russian government and conspiring to take actions on behalf of Russia.

Butina is accused of working with a Russian official and two U.S. citizens to try and infiltrate the National Rifle Association and influence American foreign policy toward Russia.

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Butina’s lawyers have previously identified the Russian official as Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who was hit with U.S. Treasury Department sanctions in April.

They also identified one of the two Americans mentioned in the criminal complaint as being Paul Erickson, a conservative U.S. political activist who was also dating Butina.

Neither Erickson nor Torshin have been accused of wrongdoing.

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Prosecutors have said they believe Butina is a flight risk and claimed she had been in contact with Russian intelligence operatives and kept contact information for several Russian agents.

However, they have also made some serious missteps in handling the case, including erroneously accusing Butina of offering sex in exchange for a position in a special interest group.

They later backed off the claim and earned scorn from the judge, who said the incorrect allegations were “notorious” and had damaged Butina’s reputation.

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Dan Grebler and Richard Chang

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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