Manafort Agrees to Plead Guilty to Avoid New Washington Trial

Leroy Wright
September 15, 2018

Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, said that Manafort's cooperation would be valuable to special counsel Robert Mueller for "only a few other subjects" under investigation, possibly including members of Trump's family.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed a plea deal to avoid a second trial, U.S. media report.

The indicted former campaign chairman, according to reporting from CBS News in late October of 2016, was the person who moved the ex-Indiana governor into the role of Donald Trump's running mate.

Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation. This meeting, which was arranged by Trump Jr., has reportedly been a major plank of the Russian Federation investigation and the question of whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation. "'Justice" took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!"

Two years after being forced from his position as chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, 10 months removed from his indictment on multiple counts of unregistered foreign lobbying and financial fraud, and just days before his second trial was set to begin, Paul Manafort has thrown in the towel. The two conspiracy counts he pleaded guilty to on Friday carry up to five years in prison, though Manafort's sentence will ultimately depend on his co-operation.

Manafort's deal could also prompt other subjects of Mueller's investigation to cooperate, causing "the proverbial snowball to roll down the hill", Waxman said.

"Manafort essentially took over the campaign as of mid-April 2016 and was Trump's go-to man during a critical period of the campaign", De la Vega told the Guardian.

The investigation has exposed the inner workings of the Russian influence campaign against American elections, a detailed and elaborate scheme by Manafort and Gates to hide money made through foreign lobbying work from the USA government and multiple instances of people later lying to investigators about their behavior.

The main focus of prosecutors in the second trial was the allegation that Manafort lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian politicians without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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Trump has the power to issue a presidential pardon for Manafort on federal charges.

Mugshot of Paul Manafort./Alexandria (Virginia) Sheriff's Office via Wikimedia Commons.

Manafort had previously been found guilty of eight counts of bank and tax fraud charges last month in a trial in Virginia. It's unclear what the terms of Manafort's cooperation agreement are.

"He's accepted responsibility", Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing, said.

Under the terms of the deal, Manafort was allowed to plead guilty to just two conspiracy counts, though the crimes he admitted cover the same conduct alleged in an indictment previous year.

"And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities".

Former federal prosecutor Harry Sandick said it was too soon to say how much Manafort's cooperation could affect the investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians.

The move comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation increasingly pressures the White House. Or Trump could be to fire both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which would give him the ability to instruct the Justice Department to terminate the Mueller investigation immediately. It shows that "Manafort has something of value to offer Mueller", tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. He also attended a June 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer. But those were only some of the charges against him.

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