In this courtroom sketch, Maria Butina, left, is shown next to her attorney Robert Driscoll, before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, during a court hearing at the U.S. District Court in Washington, Dec. 13, 2018.
In this courtroom sketch, Maria Butina, left, is shown next to her attorney Robert Driscoll, before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, during a court hearing at the U.S. District Court in Washington, Dec. 13, 2018.

U.S. prosecutors say a Russian gun-rights activist who admitted being a secret agent for the Kremlin should serve an 18-month prison sentence.

The request came in a sentencing memo filed late Friday in Maria Butina’s case.

Prosecutors say Butina was “not a spy in the traditional sense” and wasn't formally trained as an intelligence officer. Instead, they say she tried to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups as Donald Trump rose to power.

She pleaded guilty in December to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with prosecutors. Butina is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Butina admitted she was gathering intelligence at the direction of a former Russian lawmaker.

Her lawyers are asking for a sentence of time served. Butina has been jailed since her arrest in July 2018.

“Although Maria has committed a serious offense, just punishment does not require additional incarceration,” her attorneys said in a sentencing memo filed Friday.

Butina, a Russian citizen, expects to be sent back to her native country after being released from jail, her attorney said.

Reuters contributed to this report.