Sam Patten, Manafort associate, pleads guilty in case referred by Mueller

Robert Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik and Hits Paul Manafort With Another Charge

A ME native and a business associate of a key figure in the investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian political party.

Manafort is set to go to trial in D.C. on additional charges next month before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is also handling Patten's plea hearing.

The charges are spelled out in a criminal information, which often precedes a guilty plea.

The Patten case came 10 days after Manafort, a longtime Republican consultant who was chairman of Trump's election campaign in 2016, was convicted of tax and bank fraud as a part of Mueller's investigation.

Kilimnik and Manafort were indicted in June in Washington for witness tampering.

They say that staring in 2015, Patten and a Russian national lobbied and provided political consulting for the Opposition Bloc and its members, including an unnamed prominent Ukrainian oligarch.

As part of his lobbying work, Patten violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not disclosing the work to the US, prosecutors said.

At Manafort's Virginia trial, his former protege Rick Gates testified that Lyovochkin paid Manafort's consulting firm millions of dollars for political work, including for the Party of Regions, the predecessor of the Opposition Bloc.

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He added no new details when describing Patten's criminal offense, though he added the words a couple of times that Patten "was working as a foreign agent of the opposition bloc". Andrew Weissmann, a lawyer on Mueller's team who has been leading the Manafort prosecution, was present in court when Patten pleaded guilty.

In court, Patten conveyed the air of a solemn man aware of what he had done. A sentencing date has not been set.

According to prosecutors, in early 2017, Foreigner A asked Patten for help in obtaining tickets for Trump's inauguration on behalf of another person, identified only as Foreigner B.

Patten also illegally used $50,000 from a Cypriot account to buy four tickets to Trump's inauguration by using an American citizen to make the purchase - then attended the gala himself alongside the oligarch, according to a separate court document. Prosecutors detailed how he was among the wealthy Ukrainian businessmen who paid Manafort for his own political consulting work. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but both sides agreed there is no recommended sentence under federal guidelines.

Patten performed various services for Cambridge Analytica, the company that became embroiled in controversy earlier this year due to its sweeping collection of Facebook data, as well as its parent company SCL Group.

According to Liu's documents, Patten violated FARA by contacting members of Congress and the executive branch, as well as the media.

Prosecutions of the offense have been rare, but in recent years, the Justice Department's national security division has taken a tougher stance on enforcement of the law. But this was not a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Patten's ties to Cambridge Analytica have also been explored.

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