03 September, 2018
Longtime Washington political operative W. Samuel Patten was charged on Friday for failing to register as an agent of a foreign principal under 22 U.S.C. §§612 and 618 (a)(1).
Patten appeared in court Friday morning before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the same judge who is handling Manafort's trial which is scheduled to begin next month.
Patten was charged via a criminal information, which is a document that prosecutors use when a defendant waives an indictment.
While the documents did not name the Russian national, the description matches Konstantin Kilimnik, Patten's business partner, who was indicted along with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in June for witness tampering in an ongoing criminal case in Washington.
Manafort was recently convicted of eight counts of financial crimes in a federal case brought by Mueller's team.
The charge stems from his work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine known as the Opposition Bloc, and the Ukrainian oligarch between 2014 and 2018. The document said he did not register as a foreign agent with the State Department under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) while doing his political consulting work.
Mr. Kilimnik is not named in Friday's charging papers against Mr. Patten, but is identified as "Foreigner A", a Russian national who formed a company in the United States with Mr. Patten.
In a deal with prosecutors Patten, 47, agreed to plead guilty to one charge of failing to register as a foreign agent, a relatively light charge that was conditioned on his cooperation with Mueller and other investigations.
Samuel Patten, 47, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by lobbying for the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc between 2014 and 2018 without disclosing the work to the US government.
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The Patten case was referred by Mueller's team to the United States attorney's office in Washington, said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the office.
Patten was informed in writing of the ban, court papers say.
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. Prosecutors say that Patten arranged the purchase of four tickets for the unnamed Ukrainian oligarch to Trump's inauguration.
According to Justice Department officials, Patten worked with "a foreigner to place op-ed articles" in a US news outlets in 2017.
Kilimnik has been indicted in absentia alongside Manafort on obstruction of justice charges. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison.
He headed the International Republican Institute's Moscow office from 2001 to 2004, and provided technical assistance to a range of political parties and non-governmental organizations, according to the website.
The work involved setting up meetings in January 2015 with officials in the executive branch and members of Congress, to influence USA policy.
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. The special counsel office believes Kilimnik has strong ties with Russian intelligence officials.