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00:00:00
>> She's accused of working in Washington as a Secret Agent for the Kremlin. Now CNN and ABC News reporting Maria Butina, who had previously claimed innocence, will be plead guilty and agree to cooperate with prosecutors at a hearing on Thursday. Sarah Lynch has more.>> Well, we knew for a while that this was in the works.
00:00:20
Last month prosecutors and defense attorneys for Maria Butina filed a joint statement saying they were working toward ironing out an agreement.>> Prosecutors alleged the 30 year old former graduate student at American University worked on Moscow's behalf to infiltrate political groups like the National Rifle Association. And, to influence American views on Russia.
00:00:41
Butina leaving a trail on social media, seeking contact with Republicans, such as NRA chief Wayne LaPierre. In this video from a 2015 town hall in Las Vegas, Butina can be heard off camera asking then candidate Trump a question about US ties to Russia.>> Do you want to continue the politics of sanctions?
00:01:01
>> I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin.>> Sources told Reuters Butina was paid by prominent Russian banking figure Alexander Torsion currently under US sanctions. Investigators said Butina was also working with two Americans including conservative US political activist Paul Erickson, who has not been charged.
00:01:21
The New York Times has reported Erickson sent an email to Trump's campaign in May 2016, offering to arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.>> One thing that we also still don't know is to what extent, if any, Maria Butina may have had leverage in negotiating this agreement.
00:01:36
Because prior to this, the prosecutors in the case made several big errors including one in which they erroneously accused her of trading sex for the ability to join some sort of political interest group. And later they had to back away from that and acknowledge that that was not true.
00:01:55
They were yelled at by the judge in the case.>> Butina is not among the more than two dozen Russians accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. But sources told Reuters that she claimed to have ties to the Trump campaign. And Butina would be the first Russian national since the election to plead guilty in a scheme to influence US politics and the first to cooperate.
00:02:17
Butina has been held as a flight risk in a Virginia jail since July. Putin on Tuesday said it was unclear why Butina had been detained, saying his intelligence chiefs told him they know nothing about her.