SPEAKING OUT

Paul Erickson, Maria Butina’s Boyfriend, Reacts to Her Plea Agreement

Paul Erickson, Maria Butina’s boyfriend, has reacted to her recent cooperation agreement with prosecutors. His lawyer, Bill Hurd, offered a statement to The Daily Beast: “Paul Erickson is a good American. He has never done anything to hurt our country and never would.” Erickson, a well-known conservative politico, struck up a relationship with Butina, 29, in 2013. Butina, originally from Russia and an avid activist for gun rights, attended American University and worked closely with Russian central bank official Alexander Torshin to influence American politics, according to court records. Butina is currently in an Alexandria jail on charges of conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent. She has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors, The Daily Beast reported Monday.

Throughout the Butina court documents, federal investigators mention a “U.S. Person 1”—an individual Butina worked with, dated, and used to make connections with “an extensive network” of right-wing political figures. That person, whom documents say is closely tied to the National Rifle Association, is largely believed to be Erickson. The Daily Beast reported last week that Erickson received a “target letter” from prosecutors in Washington, D.C., which said they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code—the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.

—Erin Banco

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