A GOP operative linked to Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik has pleaded guilty to an illegal foreign lobbying charge

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesRobert Mueller.
  • Samuel Patten, a former associate of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, has pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a foreign agent.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller referred the case to prosecutors in Washington, DC.
  • Patten was charged by a criminal information, which indicates that he waived indictment and will most likely plead guilty to the charge against him.
  • Patten is accused of earning $US1 million while illegally lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s pro-Russia Party of Regions in the US.

Sam Patten, a longtime Republican operative, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of failure to register as a foreign agent in the District of Columbia.

Patten is a former associate of Paul Manafort, the former chairman for President Donald Trump’s campaign, and Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer.

Manafort and Kilimnik were both indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Patten was charged after Mueller’s office referred his case to prosecutors in Washington, DC.

According to the charging document, Patten made over $US1 million while illegally lobbying on behalf of Ukraine’s pro-Russia Opposition Bloc party and a 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.

Patten was charged via a criminal information, which is a document that prosecutors use when a defendant waives an indictment. Legal experts told Business Insider that the decision to charge Patten with a criminal information indicates that he will likely cooperate with prosecutors. Patten was set to appear before US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, DC at 11 a.m. ET on Friday.

According to the court filing, Patten’s illegal lobbying work included meeting with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and officials at the State Department.

Patten has a documented history with both Manafort and Kilimnik. The Atlantic reported in April that Patten has known Kilimnik since at least 2001, when they worked together at the International Republican Institute in Moscow. The two men also worked together to incorporate a political consulting firm, Begemot Ventures International, in Washington, DC, in February 2015, The Daily Beast reported.

“We’ve known each other for more than 15 years, and we periodically look for places we can work together,” Patten told The Atlantic of his relationship with Kilimnik.

Kilimnik and Manafort were indicted in June on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. According to the charging document, both men repeatedly attempted to tamper with witness testimony in Mueller’s Russia probe related to Manafort’s political consulting work.

Manafort’s relationship with Kilimnik stretches back years. Their names made headlines last 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 aluminium magnate.

Manafort has acknowledged that he was in frequent contact with Kilimnik while serving as the Trump campaign’s chairman, saying he met with Kilimnik in May and August 2016. Last year, it also emerged that Manafort emailed Kilimnik in 2016 offering to give Deripaska “private briefings” about the campaign.

Manafort was recently convicted on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report foreign bank accounts. He is set to face a second trial next month in Washington, DC, over allegations of money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying, and conspiracy.

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