Samuel Patten, a former associate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, has pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a foreign agent.
Appearing before a federal judge in Washington, DC, on Friday morning, Patten, 47, pleaded guilty to those charges and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.
"Justice Department prosecutors alleged that Patten, through an entity referred to as "Company A", partnered "50-50" with a Russian national for lobbying work conducted on USA soil, which included "[advising] the pro-Russian Ukrainian party Opposition Bloc" and a "prominent Ukraine oligarch".
Manafort still faces more charges, including obstruction allegations against him and Kilimnik for alleged witness tampering.
Court documents don't refer to Kilimnik by name, but said Patten worked with a Russian national on lobbying and political consulting services. Patten, and Foreigner A, set up a company in the United States that was paid more than $1 million to work on behalf of Opposition Bloc.
A company Patten co-owned with a Russian national received more than $1 million for the work, the US said.
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Mr. Patten had acted this year as a foreign agent for the Opposition Bloc, a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, according to a court document filed Friday. Patten did not speak to reporters at the court, but apologized to family and friends on Facebook after entering his plea.
Patten stood with his attorney, Stuart A. Sears, and after surrendering his passport and was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing.
Manafort's Washington trial is scheduled to start September 24. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison. The oligarch then repaid Patten through a Cypriot bank account.
Patten praised Kilimnik at the time as a person who helped Manafort navigate the complicated Ukrainian political scene.
Patten's long friendship with Kilimnik-which stems from their time working together at the International Republican Institute in Moscow between 2001 and 2003-would likely be enough to draw scrutiny from Mueller, who appears to have homed in on Kilimnik as a potentially significant link between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
Working alongside an unnamed Russian national, Patten set up meetings with members of Congress and their staff, as well as the executive branch, in 2015, according to the document. Prosecutions of the offense are rare, but in recent years the Justice Department's national security division has taken a tougher stance on enforcement of the law. Patten also drafted an op-ed for Foreigner B that sought to address concerns about Ukraine's ability to work with the Trump administration.
The 35-minute court proceeding was sparsely attended by members of the press and court employees, yet members of Mueller's special counsel's office filled a front row of seats.