Manafort associate to cooperate with prosecutors after guilty plea

Manafort associate to cooperate with prosecutors after guilty plea
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Sam Patten, a former associate of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFormer White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report Cohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: report MORE, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to illegally acting as a foreign agent and has agreed to cooperate with government prosecutors.

Patten pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a federal law governing foreign lobbying, in federal court in D.C. on Friday. 

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson accepted his guilty plea. 

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, followed by supervised release for up to three years, and could be fined up to $250,000 for the offense.

As part of his plea agreement, Patten has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE referred Patten's case to the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C., William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, confirmed to The Hill.

The cooperation agreement filed Friday states that Patten “shall cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with this Office, the Special Counsel’s Office, and other law enforcement authorities identified by this Office in any and all matters as to which this Office deems the cooperation relevant.” 

Michael DiLorenzo of the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. represented the government in court on Friday. Patten was joined by his attorneys, Stuart Sears and Megan Petry. 

The judge set a deadline for a joint status report 60 days from now, meaning it will be due at the end of October. 

The charges stem from Patten’s work lobbying on behalf of a political party in Ukraine, known as the Opposition Bloc, between 2014 and 2018, according to the criminal information document federal prosecutors filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday.

The government alleges that Patten worked with a Russian national identified as Foreigner A on lobbying and political consulting services and helped the individual and a Ukranian oligarch broker meetings with U.S. officials from the State Department and members of Congress on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A company that Patten jointly controlled with the Russian, identified as Company A, made more than $1 million for the work.

The judge released Patten on Friday morning shortly before noon but directed him to hand over his passports and report by phone weekly to the Pretrial Services Agency. He will also have to get the court’s permission to travel outside the greater Washington metro area.

His guilty plea comes as Manafort, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE’s former campaign chairman, is gearing up for his second criminal trial stemming from Mueller’s investigation. Manafort will be tried on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to launder money in federal court in D.C. in September.

Patten, a Washington-based political operative, worked with Manafort on campaigns in Ukraine. Patten also reportedly once worked for Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that came under scrutiny following its work for the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. 

Patten also worked with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian who Mueller indicted earlier this year along with Manafort for conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice.

Kilimnik is widely believed to be the Russian national identified as Foreigner A in the criminal information filed on Friday.

The statement of the offense filed by the U.S. attorney’s office also says that Patten worked to conceal a $50,000 payment from the Ukrainian oligarch for tickets to President Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

It also states that Patten made false and misleading testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the election. The document says that Patten misled the committee about his representation of foreign principals in the U.S. and withheld documents related to the payment for the inauguration tickets.

--Updated at 2:01 p.m.