A South Dakota man who had a close relationship with an alleged Russian spy continues to keep a low profile.
KELOLAND Investigates has spent the past two weeks trying to reach Paul Erickson, the alleged boyfriend of Maria Butina.
Butina is facing charges of conspiracy and being an unregistered agent of the Russian government.
KELOLAND Investigates stopped by Erickson’s apartment in southern Sioux Falls, once again, where we finally got a chance to talk with some of his neighbors.
Paul Erickson may not be in hiding, but those who have had dealings with him in the past tell us he might be keeping a low profile due to his close relationship with Maria Butina.
According to court documents she tried to infiltrate American political organizations, including a gun-rights group, at the direction of a senior Kremlin official.
Court papers say Butina worked on behalf of that Russian official to influence senior U.S. politicians and develop relationships with other political organizations between 2015 and 2017.
At Erickson’s office just off 57th Street, a woman who works across the hall told us she hasn’t seen Erickson since March and when he stops at his office, he usually just picks up the mail and leaves.
We also stopped by Royal Oak Apartments, where Erickson has one unit. We were invited inside by one of his neighbors.
We knocked on Erickson’s third story apartment door, but no one answered.
One of Erickson’s neighbors who lives right next door to him describes him as a friendly neighbor who minds his own business. She says the last time she saw him was about two weeks ago.
She wouldn’t go on camera, but told us she has lived here since 2000 and has seen Erickson with a young woman, who fit the description of Butina, several times.
On the backside of Erickson’s apartment, his balcony was pretty bare too.
Another neighbor, who lives across the hall from Erickson, told us he hadn’t seen him in weeks.
One retired FBI agent who worked with counterintelligence told us last week he didn’t know if Erickson would face charges, but he might be used as a cooperative witness in the case against Butina.
She is being held without bond until her trial and is expected back in Federal court Wednesday.