Federal prosecutors refused Monday to disclose publicly the extent to which Republican political consultant W. Samuel Patten is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, a sign that he may be assisting the government in at least one ongoing investigation.
Patten, a longtime associate of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty in August to illegally lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. He has since been cooperating with Mr. Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Federal authorities in the District of Columbia prosecuted Patten last summer based on a referral from the special counsel’s office.
On Monday, prosecutors and Patten’s legal team were expected to file a joint status report that could disclose details about his cooperation. However, the report was filed under seal, according to a notice prosecutors provided to a federal judge in D.C.
“The government has filed a joint status report under seal,” read the notice, which was signed by Jessie K. Liu, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The report was also likely to include a sentencing recommendation. Patten faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Typically, prosecutors only file status reports under seal if they are not ready to disclose how much assistance a defendant has provided to authorities. It is not known whether Patten is helping authorities on cases unrelated to the Mueller probe.
In August, Patten pleaded guilty to one count of failing to register as foreign agent. He was lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of the a Ukraine political party known as the Opposition Bloc.
Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, also admitted to illegally lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. He represented the Russian-backed Party of Regions, which supported former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and was a successor to the Opposition Bloc.
Manafort was convicted in August of financial fraud crimes and pleaded guilty a month later to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for his work on behalf of the Ukrainian political party.
Patten and an unidentified Russian national, widely believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, operated a company lobbying members of Congress and other officials on behalf of the Opposition Bloc. Mr. Kilimnik, who is believed to have Kremlin ties, also worked with Manafort.
Mr. Kilimnik was charged along with Manafort with witness-tampering, related to charges Mr. Mueller filed in the District of Columbia, against the former Trump campaign chairman. So far, Mr. Kilimnik has eluded U.S. authorities by remaining in Russia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.
In August, Patten admitted that he arranged for a U.S. citizen to act as a “straw donor” to purchase tickets to President Trump’s inauguration for a “prominent Ukrainian oligarch” who was not identified in court papers. The tickets cost $50,000, according to court documents.
Court documents also accuse Patten of making false and misleading statements before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Patten supposedly withheld from the panel documents related to the inauguration ticket payments.
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