Maria Butina, the accused Russian agent of influence who built ties to the National Rifle Association and influential Republicans, has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with federal prosecutors, according to a plea agreement obtained by NBC News. The case was not brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Butina, 30, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the law governing foreign agents operating in the United States, a felony that carries a five-year prison term. The estimated sentencing guideline range is from zero to six months in prison. As a noncitizen, she would face deportation after serving any prison sentence.
According to the documents, Butina — a former graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C. — will admit to conspiring with an unnamed American to act at the direction of a Russian official "to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics…for the benefit of the Russian Federation."
The unnamed American has been identified by law enforcement officials as Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican activist who was in a romantic relationship with Butina.