National Security

Manafort associate pleads guilty to illegal lobbying

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Sam Patten, a former associate of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to illegally acting as a foreign agent and is now cooperating with the government. 

Patten was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent in the United States.

The charges are related to Patten’s work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine, known as the Opposition Bloc, according to the criminal information document federal prosecutors filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday.

{mosads}The criminal information filing typically comes before a subject pleads guilty, according to Bloomberg, who first reported on the charges.

Patten is accused of knowingly and willfully acting as an agent for a Ukrainian political party and its members without registering with the attorney general, a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The government alleges he worked with a Russian national, known only in court documents as Foreigner A, on lobbying and political consulting services, and helped Foreigner A and a prominent Ukraine oligarch set up meetings with members of Congress, specifically senators on the Foreign Relations Committee and representatives on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as officials in the State Department and members of the media.

Patten is scheduled to enter a plea at an arraignment hearing Friday morning before federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in D.C.

The news comes as Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, readies for a second federal trial in D.C. stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort, who was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud earlier this month, faces charges including conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Patten is a Washington-based political operative who reportedly once worked for Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that worked for the Trump campaign during the 2016 race and that was embroiled in a scandal earlier this year when it was revealed it had obtained data on millions of Facebook users without their consent.

Updated at 11:48 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Paul Manafort Robert Mueller Russia Investigation Special counsel Trials of Paul Manafort Ukraine
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