Lobbyist linked to Manafort pleads guilty to undisclosed work with foreigners

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Swept up in Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, a Washington lobbyist and former Paul Manafort associate named W. Samuel Patten pleaded guilty Friday to one count of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Patten is scheduled to appear in federal court in Washington before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson at 11 a.m.

The case sketched out by prosecutors encompassed Patten, a respected Republican operative and consultant whose family was once part of Washington's social elite; money transfers from a Cypriot bank; and a Russian national who had also worked for Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, and been accused of maintaining ties to Russian intelligence.

Foreigner A is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort's co-defendant in a trial that kicks off next month in D.C. on similar charges to the one Patten faces.

According to the criminal information, Patten's company received more than $1 million for its work lobbying for the Opposition Bloc from 2015 to 2017.

As part of his lobbying work, he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the US said.

Patten also agreed he had steered an illegal foreign donation to President Trump's inauguration, telling prosecutors that he arranged for an American citizen to act as a "straw donor" to give $50,000 to Trump's Inauguration in place of a Ukrainian businessman who was legally barred from contributing to the event.

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Samuel Patten, a self-described global political consultant, was accused of acting "as an agent of a foreign principal, to wit, the Opposition Bloc (a Ukrainian political party) and its members, without registering" as a foreign lobbyist, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, DC. They were lead Manafort prosecutor Andrew Weissmann and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents Omer Meisel and Brock Domin. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea.

Patten was released on his own recognizance but can not travel outside the D.C. area without notifying the court.

Lyovochkin's name also came up during Manafort's trial earlier this month. Patten also drafted an op-ed for Foreigner B that sought to address concerns about Ukraine's ability to work with the Trump administration. From 2014 until now, according to Bloomberg, Patten lobbied on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, and on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch.

Earlier this year, Patten told United States media he and Kilimnik were friends and partners for years, dating back to the early 2000s when both worked for the International Republican Institute in Moscow. Back in June, Mueller issued a superseding indictment, adding obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges to a litany of lobbying and fraud offenses allegedly committed by Manafort.

Patten's ties to Kilimnik are more concrete.

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has pursued other investigations into lawyers and lobbyists who did work in Ukraine.

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