- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2020

W. Samuel Patten, a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-collusion probe, was assaulted by a knife-wielding attacker in Washington last week.

Patten was stabbed twice in the head and six times in the back during the attack at 5 p.m. Thursday on the 1400 block of Florida Avenue NW.

“He jumped up on me and rained down an array of stabs on my head and back,” said Patten, who was convicted of steering illegal foreign money to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. “I pushed back and was able to push him. He must have had a fight-or-flight moment because when he heard people coming down the street, he took off.”

Patten, whose wounds weren’t life-threatening, was treated at a hospital the night of the attack and later released.

The apparently random attack was the culmination of a tough period in Patten’s life. The stigma of a conviction in the Mueller probe has evaporated his consulting work and legal fees have wiped out his savings.

The attack added injury to insult for Patten, whose connections to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resulted in him becoming a convicted felon.

“It is a final F-you from D.C.,” Patten, who is moving back to his home state of Maine, told The Washington Times.

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department identified the suspect as Antoine Royster, 42, of Washington. He was arraigned Friday night and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Police stopped Mr. Royster on Thursday evening because he matched a description of the suspect. He was holding a knife and had a cut on his right pinky finger that occurred “in the commission of stabbing his victims,” according to the police report.

Royster is accused of assaulting a second man later that evening.

Due to the seriousness of the charges, he was ordered to be held without bail ahead of his next hearing on Dec. 10.

Steven Ogilive, Royster’s attorney, expressed surprise when told that one of his client’s alleged victims was a Mueller witness. He declined to comment on the charges.

Royster has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1997, which includes drug and weapons charges.

“Until our justice system learns to better distinguish between violent offenders and nonviolent ones, all Americans are at risk,” Patten said.

Patten said he doesn’t know whether the assault was related to his role in the Mueller team’s investigation into alleged ties between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russians who meddled in that year’s election.

“I asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’, and he didn’t say anything,” he said.

Patten said he has reached out to the FBI about the assault because of his role in the Mueller probe but has not heard back.

“The FBI is a predator of Americans, not a protector,” he said, still bitter over the bureau’s handling of his criminal case.

A longtime GOP political consultant, Patten ultimately pleaded guilty to steering illegal foreign money to Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. He was sentenced to three years probation and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Patten said he is recovering from the incident, but his right arm is numb from using it to blunt blows from the knife.

“I am extremely lucky in how the knife blows landed,” he said. “If you see the pattern on the back of my head, I’m lucky nothing hit a nerve or my spine.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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