Sam Patten gets probation after cooperating with Mueller
Washington political consultant W. Samuel Patten, who helped steer foreign money to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, was sentenced to probation without jail time in another criminal case that grew out of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian and Ukrainian influence in American politics and the 2016 presidential election.
Specifically, he will serve three years probation, pay a $5,000 fine and do 500 hours of “hands on” community service, the judge said.
Patten, 47, who pleaded guilty last August, has contributed to additional, still unknown investigations, highlighting the constellation of cases to grow out of Mueller’s work and how some aspects of the Russia probe continue.
As part of his plea deal, Patten admitted to seeking tickets to Trump’s inauguration on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch, according to court documents, and ultimately paid $50,000 for four tickets. Patten used another American as a “straw purchaser,” funneling the Ukrainian’s money secretly to the inaugural committee through a Cypriot bank account, prosecutors said at his plea.
Presidential inaugural committees are barred from accepting money from foreign nationals — and CNN has reported that prosecutors continue to investigate finances in the Trump inaugural.
Patten, speaking to the court Friday, said, “I fully recognize the seriousness of my conduct and crimes that I’ve committed.”
He added, “I behaved as though the law didn’t apply to me, and that was wrong.”
Prosecutors declined to ask for a specific sentence for Patten but told federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson that he gave “substantial assistance” to the Justice Department, according to their legal assessment earlier this week.
“Due to his prior work and experience as a political consultant overseas, Patten has served as a valuable resource for the government in a number of other criminal investigations, providing helpful information about individuals and entities,” prosecutors wrote earlier this week.
Some details about how Patten helped Mueller’s team remain under seal.
Connection to Paul Manafort
Patten’s case had been one of the most curious to grow out of the Mueller investigation. Patten had worked for some of the same Ukrainian political clients as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and became part of the intensive effort of Mueller’s team to investigate and ultimately flip the former Trump campaign chairman into a cooperator.
Patten was prepared to testify against Manafort, if Manafort had not admitted through a guilty plea his foreign lobbying and money laundering violations, prosecutors said.
Patten had run a business with another Mueller defendant, the Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik. And his case had exposed how foreigners were able to illegally obtain tickets to the Trump inauguration.
Overall, Patten and Kilimnik were paid more than $1 million for Ukrainian opposition bloc work, which Patten never disclosed to US government officials he met with. In his own court filings, Patten characterized the work his did as “a few favors for his clients.”
His efforts included meeting with members of the executive branch and Congress. He also worked with Kilimnik, who was not named in Patten’s court documents, to place op-ed articles in US media in 2017, the Justice Department says.
The charge he accepted, failing to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent, carried a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This story is breaking and will be updated.