Manafort-Linked Republican Lobbyist Reaches Plea Deal Over Ukraine Work

Manafort-Linked Republican Lobbyist Reaches Plea Deal Over Ukraine Work

Swept up in Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, a Washington lobbyist and former Paul Manafort associate named W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty Friday to one count of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Paul Manafort's former associate was also head of International Republican Institute's Moscow office from 2001 to 2004, worked with the late opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, served as Eurasian program director at a Russia-focused advocacy group, and worked as a legislative adviser and speechwriter for two USA senators.

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 is charged alongside Manafort in a separate criminal case brought in Washington by Mueller.

According to the charging document, Patten made over $1 million while illegally lobbying on behalf of Ukraine's pro-Russia Opposition Bloc party and a Ukrainian oligarch between 2014 and 2018.

Prosecutors contend Patten should have disclosed the work, which included lobbying and public relations assistance meant to "influence United States policy", with the Justice Department pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Patten that she couldn't provide any estimate of Patten's potential sentence because U.S. sentencing guidelines don't have a section for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The Patten case was referred by special counsel Robert Mueller's team to the United States Attorney's Office in Washington, said Bill Miller, a spokesperson for the office. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea.

Manafort's relationship with Kilimnik stretches back years.

According to Justice Department officials, Patten worked with "a foreigner to place op-ed articles" in a US news outlets in 2017. Prosecutors detailed how he was among the wealthy Ukrainian businessmen who paid Manafort for his own political consulting work.

According to court papers, Patten misled the committee during his testimony and withheld certain documents to hide that Foreigner B had been behind the purchase of inauguration tickets. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison. His sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Their names made headlines previous year when it emerged that Manafort may have been trying to use his elevated role on the Trump campaign to resolve a longstanding financial dispute with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch and aluminum magnate.

Earlier this year, Patten told U.S. media he and Kilimnik were friends and partners for years, dating back to the early 2000s when both worked for the International Republican Institute in Moscow. The special counsel office believes Kilimnik has strong ties with Russian intelligence officials.

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