Ex-boyfriend of deported Russian agent pardoned by Trump

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Paul Erickson, a former conservative operative once romantically linked to Russian agent Maria Butina who was convicted in investment schemes, has been pardoned by President Donald Trump.

A White House statement early Wednesday said that Erickson’s conviction “was based off the Russian collusion hoax,” even though Erickson was convicted in schemes that had nothing to do with Butina or Russia.

Butina was deported in 2019 after serving time for failing to register as a foreign agent.

Erickson, of Sioux Falls, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2020 for defrauding investors in a proposal to develop land in the North Dakota Bakken oil field by persuading people to buy real estate and build single-family homes.

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