A conservative political operative who once worked on Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and made an action movie with Jack Abramoff more recently helped arrange several speeches in South Dakota for a gun-rights activist suspected of being a covert Russian agent.
South Dakota businessman Paul Erickson in 2015 helped set up at least three events for accused Russian operative Maria Butina and formed a company with her in the state the following year.
Butina awaits trial on charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia. A judge on Wednesday ordered Butina held in jail as the case proceeds.
The case raises questions about her connections to South Dakota and to Erickson, who hasn’t returned telephone messages this week from The Associated Press requesting comment.