This is the first time the Ministry of Justice has publicly accused a person of helping a foreigner secretly invest money in a Trump campaign. Under his deal with prosecutors, Patten is charged only with a criminal count. He faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of $ 250,000. A judgment date has not been set.
Patten sought tickets for Trump's inauguration on behalf of a unidentified prominent Ukrainian oligarch, according to court documents that were released on Friday, and ultimately paid $ 50,000 for four tickets. Patten used another American as a "straw buyer," who secretly steered the Ukrainian money through a Cypriot bank account to the founding committee.
"Patten was aware at the time that the presidential inauguration committee could not accept funds from foreigners," the prosecutor wrote in the submission.
CNN previously reported that Russian oligarchs had also been questioned about donations for the Trump campaign and inauguration.
Guilty for lobbying
In total, Patten, 47, received more than a million dollars for his Ukrainian opposition bloc work, including meetings with members of the executive, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and members of Congress, according to a US District Court tribunal for the District of Columbia on Friday , He also worked with an unnamed Russian, who is believed to be the former confidant of Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort, Konstantin Kilimnik, to publish articles in US media in 2017, the Department of Justice says.
The lawsuit was handled by the US Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice's National Security Division, not by Muller's team, which is supposed to bring former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to trial for a similar charge.
The complaint does not include Manafort or any of his US and Ukrainian counterparts, although Patten's efforts as of 2014 could be related to these efforts.
Kilimnik, a Russian citizen with ties to the Russian intelligence group accused of interfering in the presidential election, has close professional ties with both Patten and Manafort, as they work for the same political interests of Ukraine.
Kilimnik was one of the suspected co-conspirators who helped Manafort hide his Ukrainian advisory income on foreign bank accounts. This is evident from documents released in the Manafort financial crime case earlier this month. The prosecutor of Mueller filed an indictment against Kilimnik and Manafort in June in a separate federal court with witness manipulation after Kilimnik contacted potential witnesses in Manafort's foreign lobby case. Kilimnik has not filed a lawsuit in his case because he lives in Moscow, prosecutors say. Manafort has not pleaded guilty to the foreign lobby charges and these criminal charges are not enough until 2015.
According to company reports, Kilimnik has co-operated a company with patten called Begemot Ventures International. According to the court in the case of Patten on Friday, Patten and Foreigner A "founded a company in the United States and were 50 to 50 partners In 2015, Company A advised the opposition bloc and members of that section, among others. "
As part of his request, Patten agreed to work with both Mueller's office and DC US Attorney's Office prosecutors, including handing over documents and testimony at future grand jury hearings or in criminal proceedings.
Lie in front of the congress
Patten admitted to lied to the US Senate Intelligence Committee on the inauguration ticket in January this year. As he testified, he tried to hide his ties with the Ukrainian oligarch and the Russian national with whom he worked, the prosecutor said.
Patten "purposely did not provide the committee's documents related to the purchase of four Ukrainian Trump tickets by the Ukrainian oligarch, and lied to the Senate committee over its foreign lobbying activities, and also deleted documents" with its relations with foreigners political interests, "the prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice said.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and Vice President Mark Warner said they referred Patten to the Department of Justice.
"We can confirm that Mr. Patten has submitted documents to the committee and was interviewed by the staff of the committee," the senators said. "Due to concerns about certain statements made by Mr Patten, the Committee has made a criminal referral to the Ministry of Justice, and although the charges and the plea resulting from them do not directly affect our referral, we appreciate their review of this matter."
Appear in court
Patten appeared on Friday morning before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the same judge who heads the Manafort trial, which is scheduled to start next month.
In court, Patten conveyed the atmosphere of a serious man who was aware of what he had done.
When Berman Jackson asked him a few questions about his guilt and his rights, Patten answered slowly and clearly, "Yes, Your Honor." "I understand, Your Honor." "I do, Your Honor."
In a blue shirt and a dark blue suit and tie, the lifelong Washingtonian woman stood in front of the judge and nodded often as she spoke to him.
Patten seemed to stumble only in his speech when asked about his request.
"I would – I owe the charge," Patten told the judge.
Berman Jackson confirmed that he had signed each page of his consent form and charged documents with "a squeeze".
A Procurator of the US Procuratorate of DC read the billing document announced on Friday before the hearing almost word for word. He did not add any new details when describing Patten's criminal plot, although he added the words more than once that Patten "worked as a foreign opposition bloc agent".
The Ukrainian political party, called the Opposition bloc, had close ties with Russia during the period in which Patten represented them, including many ally of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The political party formed from the remains of the base of Yanukovych after being expelled from Ukraine in 2014, and fled to Russia.
Patten's defense counsel refused to comment after the hearing.
The 35-minute court case was sparsely attended by press and court staff members, yet members of Müller's Special Advisory Bureau filled a first row of seats. They were Lead Manafort Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann and FBI agents Omer Meisel and Brock Domin.
After the hearing was over, Weissmann spent a few minutes welcoming Patten's defense attorney Stuart Sears and two prosecutors from other judicial authorities. Patten, standing with crossed hands, stood before him without a smile and shook Meisel's hand.
Speakers from the Special Advisory Bureau office and US Attorney DC refused to comment on the case.
Patten will not be detained until sentenced. But he has to give up his passport and ask the judge for permission to travel outside the Washington subway area. He must continue to visit a psychiatrist or therapist who, as he said, is currently on a regular basis for depression and anxiety treatments, and he must avoid alcohol, ordered the judge.
Berman Jackson also talked about the rarity of a foreign lobby indictment. There is no judgment rule for this type of case and no analogous guidelines that the court can use to determine the set of patts.
"That's a bit complicated," Berman Jackson said as he talked about his possible sentence. "Usually I do not have to do all that."
The prosecution and the defense will send the court a status update on Patten's case within 60 days.
CNN's Jeremy Herb, Sara Murray, Caroline Kelly and Evan Perez contributed to this report.