Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller
14 September, 2018, 18:43
Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election.
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. Law enforcement officials have come to suspect that Manafort hopes he will be pardoned by the president, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.
He has yet to be sentenced in Virginia, where legal experts say he faces 8 to 10 years in prison under federal guidelines on the eight of 18 counts on which he was convicted.
Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters that a guilty plea would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon. Manafort would be the fifth Trump aide to plead guilty in connection to the special counsel's probe.
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It will also allow Manafort to serve time from his separate federal cases in Virginia and Washington concurrently, a source told Politico. He volunteered that year to work for free on the Trump campaign, shepherding the candidate through the Republican National Convention before being pushed aside as questions about his influence-peddling emerged.
The high-profile lobbyist is expected to appear in court later Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST. But Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the campaign.
Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.
The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Manafort was accused of concealing from the IRS tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from his Ukrainian patrons and conspiring to launder that money through offshore accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere. "And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities".
That posture drew plaudits from Trump, who praised his former campaign chairman for his unwillingness to cooperate with the special counsel.
Writing on Twitter on August 22, Trump said, "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal". "Such respect for a courageous man!"
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