Manafort Reaches Plea Deal, Agrees to Help Mueller's Russia Investigation

Aaron Brown
September 15, 2018

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will cooperate with the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, after months of refusing to do so. Suspicion also arose from the fact that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson pushed back the pretrial hearing from Wednesday to Friday with no explanation-I guess now we have our reason.

But given Manafort's pre-existing financial connections to Russia, his agreement to help prosecutors with further investigations will most certainly feed speculation and theories that there's more to these relationships than we're now publicly aware of, beyond what we've been told about Russian lobbyists offering stolen emails and data from Hillary Clinton's campaign to Trump's team.

He had been scheduled to begin jury selection for his second trial in Washington on Monday for charges that included money laundering, failing to register as an agent of a foreign government and witness tampering.

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.

In this photo taken July 21, 2016, then-Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort stands between the then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump during a walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Trump last month praised Manafort for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

In a statement Friday, the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani reiterated that confidence. 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.

Prosecutors will drop the five remaining charges in DC federal court against Manafort, including money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, violating federal foreign lobbying law and lying to the Department of Justice.

Several media outlets reported that Manafort is close to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

NASA revealed the extent of hurricane Florence from space
In fact, Gerst wrote on Twitter that Hurricane Florence is "so enormous" it could only fit in the frame of a wide-angle camera. Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, is a 'no-kidding nightmare, ' warns German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

Florence Moves Toward the Carolinas
Rather than pushing up toward western Virginia , the storm's center is now predicted to move across the middle of SC . By sunset Thursday and through most of Friday , our area will see the worst of the conditions, he said.

Apple Event Highlights: iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch 4
Apple will debut all three new iPhone models tomorrow at its special event in Cupertino, California, which kicks off at 10 AM PT. Now we can see a list of exactly which colours will be available at launch: black, white, red, yellow, blue and coral.

In total, Mueller has indicted or extracted guilty pleas from more than 30 people and three companies.

The White House had previously distanced itself from Manafort and downplayed his time leading the Trump campaign. "Mueller would not have given him a deal unless Manafort was able to help Mueller make a case against someone else or significantly strengthen an existing case".

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.

"I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence", Manafort said after the Gates plea deal earlier this year.

On another conspiracy-related front, as Natasha Bertrand points out today, Manafort might be in a good position to shed light on what exactly former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos - who has testified as part of his own plea deal that he learned that Russian Federation had stolen dirt on Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" - might have told campaign higher ups about this at the time, another big unknown.

After his arrest in October, he was detained by the court in his Alexandria, Virginia, home for more than eight months.

That includes Manafort's former deputy, Rick Gates, who testified against Manafort in Virginia.

A juror in the Virginia case said she discounted testimony from Gates but found the documents that prosecutors introduced to be "overwhelming" in favor of conviction.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER