Politics

Samuel Patten sentenced to 3 years probation for failing to file as foreign agent

W. Samuel Patten, 47, was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to complete 500 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty in August 2018 to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to register as a foreign agent for his work on behalf of the Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort also worked for the group.

Patten, along with his friend Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who has since been indicted by the special counsel, where the two offered “political consulting” in Ukraine. In his sentencing memo, Patten’s lawyers write, “at no point did Mr. Patten know, believe, or suspect that Kilimnik was connected in any way to Russian intelligence.”

Additionally, Patten helped Ukrainian nationals donate $50,000 — worth four tickets to the 2017 presidential inauguration — even though foreign nationals are not allow to make donations to the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He also withheld documents from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.A condition of his probation is that he continues to participate in a mental health treatment program.

In court Friday, Patten told Judge Amy Berman Jackson that he had “behaved as though the law didn’t apply to me, and that was wrong.” When imposing Friday’s sentence, Jackson reprimanded Patten over his crimes, which had taken place over the four-year period, when he worked on behalf of a Ukrainian political party in the U.S. “None of them are minor, and all of them are absolutely intentional,” she said.

Although his case was originally investigated by the special counsel’s office, it was ultimately referred and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C. However, special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann made an appearance today in the courtroom, watching the sentencing along with the public. 

Jackson emphasized, just as she did during Manafort’s sentencing, that the purpose of FARA was to prevent anyone from “undermin[ing] our political discourse.” She said that although it may sound like it, “an unregistered foreign agent is not a spy.” She took time to explain to the court why Patten’s sentence today would be different than Manafort’s. 

As part of his plea agreement, Patten had to cooperate with the government, his lawyers say he had “extensive meetings and negotiations with the special counsel’s office and later with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.” The government noted Patten’s “substantial assistance” and agreed it was worthy of a lesser sentence.

In court, prosecutor Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez said that the government could not make a recommendation on sentencing in part because “We think that Mr. Patten is very differently situated from all of those other [FARA] cases,” adding that the defendant was in a “much more positive place.” Additionally there are currently no sentencing guidelines for FARA crimes.

Patten’s lawyer Stuart Sears said that over the past year his client has “forfeit his career,” instead choosing to assist his country in ongoing investigations. Patten has struggled with alcohol addiction, and Jackson commended him on his progress noting he has struggled “with many demons for most of your life.”  She also spoke highly of his acceptance of responsibility and assistance to law enforcement. 

CBS News’ Aaron Navarro contributed to this report. 


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