Republican operative is investigated as Russian agent due to relationship with NRA-linked alleged spy
Paul Erickson, a longtime GOP activist and boyfriend of accused Russian spy Maria Butina, has been told that he may soon face charges for acting as a Russian agent.
The Daily Beast has obtained a “target letter” that was sent to Erickson’s lawyers by federal investigators informing them that “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.”
According to New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman, Erickson could be in major legal jeopardy if he really faces this kind of charge.
“Charging an American under 951 in the context of the Russia investigation is especially serious because that statute is generally reserved for espionage-like cases, such as intelligence-gathering on behalf of a foreign government,” he explained to the Daily Beast.
The letter also informed Erickson’s attorneys that the government may bring a conspiracy charge against him, although it says there is no guarantee that any charges will ever be filed.
Earlier this year, the government accused Erickson’s girlfriend, Maria Butina, of being a Russian agent who infiltrated the National Rifle Association while posing as a guns rights activist.
Butina, who was arrested and is currently jailed on charges of being an unregistered foreign agent, has worked for years to forge ties between Russia and the NRA.