Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred the Sam Patten Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) investigation to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), the picture is becoming clearer as to why Patten was on Mueller’s radar in the first place.
Earlier Friday, Law&Crime noted that Patten, an associate of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in the lobbying world, had ties to suspected Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik. Patten was charged for acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia and Ukraine between 2014 and 2017. It happened after Mueller referred the investigation to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice National Security Division.
Kilimnik, you may recall, was slapped with lobbying violations in June, as Mueller brought witness tampering and conspiracy charges against Manafort in a superseding indictment. Kilimnik’s ties to Patten go back two decades.
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz is now reporting that prosecutors are alleging that Patten sought tickets to Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States “on behalf of a prominent Ukrainian oligarch” and acted as a “straw purchaser” to do so. Prosecutors say Ukrainian money was secretly funneled to the inauguration committee “through a Cypriot bank account.”
Why does this matter? It had already been reported as far back as April that Mueller was investigating whether “wealthy Russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration.”
Sources said at the time claimed that Mueller had a theory that “straw donors” (particularly Americans) acted as “a vessel through which they could pump money into the campaign and inauguration fund.”
D.C. prosecutors are saying that this is exactly what happened in the case of Patten. In fact, they said he admitted it.
The latest news is that Patten has waived a trial by jury. The reason why is that he’s reached a plea agreement to cooperate with both Team Mueller’s investigation and D.C. prosecutors.
A copy of the cooperation agreement is below.
Patten’s ties to Cambridge Analytica have also been explored.
[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
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