Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Trump's Ex-Campaign Chairman Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees To Cooperate With Prosecutors

Trump's Ex-Campaign Chairman Manafort Pleads Guilty, Agrees To Cooperate With Prosecutors

Trump's former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on 8 charges of financial fraud, but as he's staring down the barrel of another trial, he's decided to take make a deal with Mueller.

As part of the deal, Mr Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

The charges in Friday's filing were contained in criminal information, a type of charging document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent, and typically signals a deal has been reached.

Manafort oversaw the 2016 Republican National Convention in which the party's platform on Ukraine was altered in a way that made it more in line with Russian interests. Jurors deadlocked on ten other counts. "It is totally unrelated".

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning. "If the president or his team were dangling a pardon in conversations with Manafort, that would go to the issue of obstruction of justice as well", Schiff said.

President Donald Trump expressed sympathy toward Manafort after the former campaign chair's conviction in August. Vanity Fair reports that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is talking to investigators: "he has bristled at the feeling that he has taken the fall for a man who has refused to take any responsibility or face any outcome himself".

Read the charges against Manafort.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the Manafort news on Friday.

"I plead guilty", Manafort said.

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Not only does he need to win big, but his lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, is facing a tight race. While he seldom mentions her name, Cuomo has taken her seriously as a political threat.

Trump has sought advice from his lawyers on the possibility of pardoning Manafort and other aides accused of crimes, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani previously said, and was counselled against pardoning anyone involved in the Mueller probe.

Paul Manafort, who was recently found guilty of eight felonies, entered a guilty plea in a D.C. court, staving off a new trial and likely igniting hell from Trump's Twitter fingers. In return, Manafort will not face a second trial in which he could receive more severe punishment.

But Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has received a lot of flak over the previous year for defending Trump at times despite being a self-described liberal, says Team Trump should be deeply concerned about Manafort's agreement to fully cooperate with Mueller investigation, though he stressed that it's unlikely Manafort would have any evidence that could lead to impeachment.

Manafort-through his guilty verdicts in last month's trial stemming from various financial charges and his guilty plea on Friday-has already deepened our knowledge of blatant corruption and illegality among those close to Trump.

There was some concern about the risk to Mr Mueller's investigation faced going into the Manafort trials. However, Manafort's web of connections in the murky world of lobbying and foreign influence means that the information prosecutors extract from him may not involve the president. But Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the campaign.

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

Manafort has not yet been sentenced in the Virginia case. In addition to failing to register as a foreign agent himself, Manafort admitted to taking steps to prevent the firms and lobbyists he hired from registering as foreign agents.

Prosecutors "applied tremendous pressure on him and. he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal, ' " the president tweeted last month.

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