Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty in Mueller probe

Clay Curtis
September 14, 2018

Paul Manafort agrees to plead guilty to avoid a second trial on corruption charges, following a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

The once-powerful Republican operative was found guilty last month of tax and bank fraud charges that could land him in prison for up to 80 years.

A second case was opened in Virginia earlier this year on related charges that ended with a jury finding Manafort guilty on eight counts out of an 18-count indictment, facing a maximum of 80 years behind the bars, though under sentencing guidelines the term is likely to be closer to seven years.

In-person jury selection for his Washington trial was set to start Monday, with opening statements scheduled for September 24 before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The jury could not reach a verdict on 10 other counts.

The D.C. trial that was averted by the new plea deal stood to pull back the curtain on the world of covert lobbying on behalf foreign powers in the nation's capital.

President Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

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Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to.

The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work". Manafort's decision could be mixed news for Trump, who tapped the consultant to serve as his campaign chairman in June 2016 as he was securing the GOP presidential nomination.

The charges are related to Manafort's Ukrainian political consulting work.

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty".

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation. 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. "Such respect for a fearless man!" Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

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