Paul Manafort pleads guilty in deal with special prosecutors, NBC News reports

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

What's extraordinary about this plea agreement, though, is the lack of protections Manafort has if that scenario were to play out.

He left the campaign in August that year - days after the New York Times reported a Ukraine investigation had uncovered $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments involving Manafort from 2007 to 2012.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman. "It is totally unrelated".

But depending on the extent of his cooperation and the degree to which prosecutors argue for reducing his sentence, Manafort could end up getting anywhere from a year to five years in prison, according to Mark Allenbaugh.

The structure of Manafort's plea deal limits the effectiveness of any Trump pardon, said Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University.

"I do", he said repeatedly, waiving each right. Places like Virginia and NY, both of which have Democratic attorneys general, could prosecute Manafort on state tax violations, for instance. In DC, his seven criminal counts are rewritten as two.

The charges in his second trial were set to include money laundering, conspiring to defraud the U.S., witness tampering and failing to register as a foreign agent.

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

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. It's still not clear what will happen to those charges in Virginia federal court. Instead, Mr Mueller came out with a conviction on eight of 18 counts in Virginia last month, then sealed the deal with the plea agreement on Friday.

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There's been plenty of speculation that Manafort could be rescued by a presidential pardon.

Because it's Friday, that means we're getting a massive news dump.

It was the second version of the statement. What might Trump's former campaign chair have to say? It could be directly related to the Trump campaign or merely tangential. But last month, Trump expressed sympathy for him. The witness tampering landed Manafort behind bars before his trial, as the judge noted there was no other way to keep him from continuing to try to influence witnesses.

Mueller also gained a key co-operator in Manafort, who participated in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that Donald Trump Jr took despite it being described as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's campaign. He was facing a second trial Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Mueller has collected folders upon folders of information since he began his investigation and spoken with dozens of witnesses.

If so, it will not be forgotten by the White House that Manafort fought a long and determined war with federal prosecutors at great personal cost while remaining loyal to the President.

Earlier this year, Rick Gates, who served as deputy chairman for the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to charges of plotting. A jury there found him guilty of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts and bank fraud. As a part of the deal, he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Moscow rejects the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that it interfered in the American democratic process and Trump denies campaign collusion. "It's not a criminal case". In previous court filings, prosecutors allege he had ties to the Russian GRU, a military intelligence agency.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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