Paul Manafort strikes plea deal with Mueller, new court filing shows

Paul Manafort

  • Paul Manafort has struck a plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller, according to a new court filing.
  • Manafort will plead guilty to two counts: conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the US.
  • Manafort has not withdrawn from his joint defense agreement with President Donald Trump, indicating that his plea deal does not include an agreement to cooperate.

Paul Manafort has struck a plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller, new court filings show.

Prosecutors filed a criminal information against Manafort in court early Friday, shortly before a pretrial hearing during which lawyers for both sides are expected to announce the terms of Manafort’s guilty plea.

According to the document, Manafort will plead to two counts: conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the US. It is unclear whether Manafort’s plea includes an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors in the Russia investigation, which is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor.

However, a source close to Trump’s legal team with direct knowledge of the matter told Business Insider that Manafort has not withdrawn from his joint defense agreement with Trump. That indicates that he likely will not flip and cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort is the former chairman of Trump’s campaign. He was the subject of two indictments from Mueller’s office and was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud last month after his first trial in Virginia. The second indictment, brought in Washington, DC, charged him with conspiracy, obstruction, money laundering, false statements, and illegal lobbying.

Both indictments center around Manafort’s political consulting work from 2006 to 2015 for pro-Russian interests like Ukraine’s Party of Regions and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

In the Washington, DC, case, prosecutors allege that Manafort did not register as a foreign agent while lobbying on behalf of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions. They also accused him of making misleading statements about his overseas work, conspiring to launder money, and attempting to tamper with witness testimony.

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lead defense attorney, told Politico on Thursday that the president’s legal team was not concerned about the possibility of a plea deal in Manafort’s case because they were convinced he wouldn’t say anything damaging about Trump.

One potential hazard for the president is that if Manafort pleads guilty, Mueller can subpoena him to testify before a grand jury after he is sentenced. At that point, Manafort would not be able to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as it relates to the two cases against him.

Manafort is a significant figure in several threads of the Russia investigation. He led the Trump campaign from March to August of 2016, during one of the most pivotal periods in the election season.

During that time he exchanged emails with a former Russian intelligence operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, offering the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska „private briefings“ about the campaign in what might have been an attempt to resolve a long-standing financial dispute with Deripaska.

He spearheaded the campaign when WikiLeaks published thousands of emails that Russia had stolen from the Democratic National Committee. He was also one of three top campaign officials who attended a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with two Russian lobbyists offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s support for Trump’s candidacy.

This story is developing. Check back for updates. 

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Source: Business insider

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