A former associate of Paul Manafort pleaded guilty in a D.C. federal court Friday for failing to register as a foreign agent.
Sam Patten pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act when he failed to notify the Justice Department that he has been representing a Ukrainian political party since 2014.
He faces up to three years in jail and a could face a fine of as much as $250,000.
As part of his plea agreement, Patten agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
Patten admitted that he worked to conceal an illegal donation to President Trump’s inauguration, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He arranged for an American citizen to act as straw donor paying $50,000 for inauguration tickets on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch who was legally prohibited from buying the tickets.
Court documents allege Patten made false and misleading statements before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Patten allegedly withheld documents from the committee documents related the inauguration ticket payments.
Special counsel Robert Mueller referred to the case to federal prosecutors in Washington. However, it is not clear if the evidence against Patten emerged from the probe of Manafort, Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager, or somewhere else.
Prosecutors said Patten formed a company with an unidentified Russian national to engage on political consulting on lobbying for members of the Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc party, which included a prominent Ukrainian oligarch identified only as “Foreigner B.”
The company earned more than $1 million for its lobbying work, according to court documents.
Patten also arranged meetings between the Ukrainian oligarch and officials from the State Department and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Although the Russian national was not identified, it is widely believed to Konstantin Kilimnik, who was also a former Manafort associate. Mr. Mueller indicted Mr. Kilimnik earlier this year for obstruction of justice.
His is scheduled to be tried next month in Washington on charges of failing to register as a foreign lobbyist and making false statements to the FBI.
Patten once worked for Cambridge Analytica, according to a report in Bloomberg News. The data analytics company was caught up in a scandal earlier this year when it was revealed it obtained personal data from millions of Facebook users without their consent.
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