The Department of Justice told a federal judge that it “does not oppose” allowing a former associate of Paul Manafort to end his three-year probation after just over a year’s time.
Samuel Patten, a former D.C. lobbyist with ties to suspected Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik, pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) through his consulting work for Ukrainian political party, Opposition Bloc. He acted as an unregistered foreign agent in Ukraine between 2014 and 2017.
Patten’s case was referred to the Washington D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) by former special counsel Robert Mueller as a result of his investigation into Russian election meddling.
Though he was not charged for the conduct, Patten also admitted to funneling $50,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch to President Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration committee. Federal election law prohibits inauguration funds from accepting foreign donations.
According to his plea agreement, Patten partnered with Kilimnik, a Russian political operative with alleged ties to intelligence services, to form a consulting firm. Kilimnik, identified as “foreigner A” in court filings, also has an extensive history with Manafort.
Upon learning that foreign nationals were prohibited from donating to Trump’s inauguration, Patten enlisted an American citizen to purchase four tickets. Patten and Kilimnik’s firm was paid $50,000 by the oligarch from an account in Cyprus which Patten funneled to the American “straw purchaser” to buy the tickets.
Additionally, Patten told federal investigators that he lied about the scheme during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Jan. 2018, refusing to provide documents and giving misleading evidence in an attempt to cover up his crimes.
Patten was ordered in April 2019 to serve a three-year term of probation that included special conditions requiring him to perform 500 hours of hands-on community service over the course his term of probation, to participate in alcohol and substance abuse treatment and testing, to continue his mental health treatment, and to pay a $5,000 fine in addition to court costs.
The DOJ said that because he has complied with all of the terms of his probation thus far and also met with federal prosecutors for two and a half hours to answer questions regarding ongoing investigations, the department “does not oppose” his request for early termination of his probation.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Manafort on Wednesday was granted early release from federal prison due to health concerns stemming from the global pandemic and will serve out the remainder of his sentence, which ends in November 2024, under home confinement.
See the DOJ’s filing below.
[image via YouTube screengrab]
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