An associate of Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort's Russian contact Konstantin Kilimnik has been charged by federal prosecutors for acting as an unregistered foreign agent.
Sam Patten, who also worked for dirty tricks operation Cambridge Analytica, will plead guilty to acting as an unregistered agent on behalf of the Ukrainian government party of former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Just like Manafort.
From The Guardian:
Sam Patten is accused of “willfully” acting as an agent for the Ukrainian political party Opposition Bloc between 2014 and this year, according to a filing to federal court in Washington DC on Friday.
Patten, 47, was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The charge was brought by the US attorney’s office in the capital.
Patten was scheduled to appear in federal court before Judge Amy Berman Jackson at 11am on Friday.
Exactly how and where Sam Patten was charged is very interesting.
Patten's illegal activities were reportedly uncovered by special prosecutor Robert Mueller's team, but they did not charge him. They referred his case to federal prosecutors in Washington where he was charged.
Referring this case (and the Michael Cohen case) to other federal prosecutors means those prosecutors are now in possession of files that could have otherwise been lost if Trump moves against Mueller. Mueller is spreading his central investigation around to separate offices to insulate and preserve it. He's also building pressure on the central figures of the investigation by opening up multiple cases against them under multiple jursidictions; cases that may seem unrelated to the question of Russian interference but are intended to turn up the heat on specific targets.
In addition to pleading guilty to acting as a foreign agent, Patten also admitted in court this morning that he funneled foreign money into Trump's inaugural committee.
According to a court filing, Patten’s Ukrainian client wanted to attend the Trump inauguration in January 2017, but the inauguration committee couldn’t accept money from foreign nationals. Foreign nationals can’t contribute to a presidential inauguration, according to Federal Election Commission rules.
To get around that restriction, Patten enlisted a U.S. citizen to serve as a “straw” buyer, according to the filing. That individual, who wasn’t named, bought four tickets for $50,000, after receiving a check for $50,000 from the consulting firm run by Patten and Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s longtime fixer in Ukraine suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence. That firm, in turn, was reimbursed by a $50,000 wire from the Ukrainian oligarch’s Cypriot bank account, the filing says.
JUST IN: Sam Patten, subject of today's new charges, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, including the Special Counsel's Office, as part of his plea agreement. pic.twitter.com/NK4W6l8hoW
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) August 31, 2018
If we actually survive Trumpism, this investigation is going to be one hell of a story.