Manafort will cooperate with Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says

Marsha Scott
September 15, 2018

It could yet turn out, of course, that Trump has nothing to hide and the special counsel will have nothing to find against him.

As with the Virginia case, the trial in Washington focused on criminal charges that largely predated Manafort's time with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Manafort admitted guilt to just two counts of conspiracy, and will resolve the two pending criminal cases against him in Washington and in Virginia federal courts.

US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort is set to plead guilty to more federal charges.

Kevin M. Downing, an attorney for Manafort, also said this summer that there was "no chance" his client would flip and cooperate with prosecutors.

In the trial scheduled in Washington, Manafort faces charges of conspiring against the United States, money laundering, failing to register as a lobbyist, making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice by trying to influence witnesses.

The trial would have been Manafort's second; he was convicted last month by a federal jury in Virginia on eight of 18 counts in a bank and tax fraud case related to money he earned in Ukraine.

Before the 2016 election, US spies overheard Russian officials discussing how they could use Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn to exert influence over Donald Trump. But Manafort, whom we can safely assume is one of "the young and handsome lives (and others)" the president once lamented were being destroyed by the investigation, can nearly certainly expect to soon be the subject of a presidential tweetstorm that in no way demeans the highest office in the land.

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The jury in that case deadlocked on 10 counts that on Friday were dropped as part of the plea deal.

News that Manafort has made a decision to break is quite surprising given that he had the option when facing his first trial over the summer. He called Manafort a "good man" and said he had been unfairly targeted by the Justice Department-sparking questions of whether Trump might pardon him.

The information says Manafort conspired to act as an unregistered agent for the government of Ukraine and its former pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych, generating more than $60 million in income. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large-scale lobbying operation in the U.S. for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

Prosecutors had accused him of hiding from United States tax authorities $US16 million ($22 million) he earned as a political consultant in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle and then lying to banks to secure $US20 million ($29 million) in loans. The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial. Court papers indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19½ years in prison under federal guidelines.

Moscow has denied interfering in the 2016 election and Trump has said there was no collusion.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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