Indicted political operative appeared in unlikely places

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The American political operative linked to admitted Russian covert agent Maria Butina and accused this week of fraud, has turned up in the unlikeliest of places, from Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign to representing a man involved in one of the most salacious trials of the 1990s.

Paul Erickson pleaded not guilty this week to 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering in schemes that stretched from 1996 through August 2018.

Butina, his former girlfriend, pleaded guilty in December for trying to infiltrate conservative political groups as a Kremlin secret agent. It’s a case that’s separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Prosecutors now accuse Erickson of concocting schemes to carry out well over $1 million in fraudulent transactions.

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