The former Maine newspaper reporter who pleaded guilty in a case that was spun off from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was released from probation by a federal judge on Tuesday after a coronavirus-related request from his attorney.
Sam Patten, a political consultant raised mostly in Camden, pleaded guilty in 2018 to a lobbying violation after helping a pro-Russian politician from Ukraine get tickets to President Donald Trump’s 2016 inauguration. Patten was sentenced to three years probation.
That ended two years early on Tuesday when U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson accepted a request made by Patten attorney Stuart Sears earlier this month, issuing a one-page ruling citing “compliance with his conditions of release to date” and “the interests of justice.”
Sears noted that Patten had fulfilled several probation terms by doing 500 hours of community service, paying a fine, completing substance abuse testing and continuing to get mental health treatment. He cited the strain on the justice system from the virus and argued Patten has “demonstrated through his conduct that he is not in need of further supervision.”
Patten was a small-time player in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He worked on foreign political campaigns for much of his career. At one point, he worked alongside former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Manafort was sentenced to prison last year for financial crimes and got released last week due to virus concerns.
Amid his legal trouble, Patten cooperated with the federal government as it built a case against Manafort. He has apparently continued helping prosecutors. One told Jackson in a court document last week that Patten met with them in April for more than two hours and provided information that would be “helpful to ongoing investigations.”
Patten’s grandmother, Susan Mary Alsop, was a well-known socialite in Washington, D.C., where Patten was born. His father, Bill, ran the Camden Herald and Sam Patten worked there as a reporter for a year after college. He later worked for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and ran George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign in Maine.
Patten told the Bangor Daily News in an interview last year that he was considering moving back to Maine or his wife’s native Minnesota as he writes a memoir about his time in international politics. He wrote a piece in Wired magazine last year on his career.