Russian gun rights campaigner and accused Russian agent Maria Butina spent her thirtieth birthday in jail this month. She may be negotiating with prosecutors to avoid spending her 31st Christmas there. According to a joint motion filed Friday in the federal court in Washington, D.C., both sides are asking Judge Tanya Chutkan to delay the next hearing from December 6 to December 18 or 19 to give them time to continue “negotiations regarding a potential resolution of this matter” that “would be potentially hindered by simultaneously engaging in motions practice.” The defense is willing to this two-week delay from the Speedy Trial Act because the delay “serves the ends of justice, and that those ends outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.”
Meanwhile, Butina’s supporters continue to promote her bang-up image and a new fundraising website, the Fund of Maria Butina:
The party in charge of Butina’s VK.com account said on November 6 that “MariaButinaFund.ru” was established by Butina’s family to raise money for her defense. But check out the fundraising site’s About page and the bank info at the bottom:
“АНТИГЛОБАЛИСТСКОЕ ДВИЖЕНИЕ”—that’s Russian for “Anti-Globalist Movement.” That’s a Russian outfit run by one Alexander Ionov and funded in part by the Russian government to promote secessionist movements in the West. The group recognizes Syrian President Bashar Assad and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as honorary members. Ionov’s group has supported secessionist groups in Texas and California that have been mentioned in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian influence in the U.S. On the website “Stop-Imperialism.com,” one Alexander Ionov claims the charges against Butina are “idiotic” and portrays the New York Times and Washington Post as part of a “fundamental flaw in the justice system in the United States.”
Whether Butina was associated with Ionov and his secession foment prior to her arrest remains to be determined. But at the very least, Ionov appears to see supporting Butina as one more opportunity to fray Western powers and strengthen Russia’s position.