Paul Manafort will enter guilty plea in second trial

Elias Hubbard
September 15, 2018

Nothing linking President Trump personally to any criminal acts surfaced during the first Manafort trial in Virginia. He's already been convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud crimes in the Virginia trial.

It has been reported that Mr Trump's legal team is quite relaxed about Manafort's change of heart, believing that there is very little he can tell Mueller's team. Five other charges were dropped in the new court filing. Manafort's decision could be mixed news for Trump, who tapped the consultant to serve as his campaign chairman in June 2016 as he was securing the GOP presidential nomination.

"I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence", Manafort said in February.

It's unclear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Trump's former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted financial crimes and is helping federal prosecutors in NY. "'Justice" took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal.' Such respect for a fearless man!"

The charge of witness tampering - formally called obstruction of justice - was added earlier this year after prosecutors alleged the Manafort and his longtime Ukrainian point man, Konstantin Kilimnik, had contacted potential witnesses after Manafort had been indicted in an effort to persuade them to change or coordinate their stories when discussing the case with prosecutors.

Instead Manafort entered the plea.

The charges replace a raft of separate accusations that Manafort had failed to register as a foreign agent, lied to the government, laundered money and committed fraud.

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.

Mueller filed superseding criminal information in U.S. District Court in Washington, an indication that Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of witness tampering.

"He's accepted responsibility", said Manafort defence lawyer Kevin Downing after Thursday's court appearance.

Manafort also agreed not to appeal any trial or pre-trial issues in his Eastern District of Virginia conviction, and "abandons any interest he has in all forfeitable property and consents to any disposition of the property by the government without further notice" - to the tune of $46 million, something any presidential pardon could not retrieve.

"For months, as part of their joint defense agreement, they would have been strategizing together", Schiff noted, adding that Manafort might be able to share information on "what conversations" Trump might have had with Manafort "after the charges were brought against him". Papadopoulos has since agreed to work with Mueller's investigation.

"What we will find out in the days and weeks ahead is just how much Manafort knows and how much he can tell us about what Trump knew regarding Russian interference on his behalf", Rubin wrote.

It's true that nothing public in Mueller's investigation so far has touched Trump on the central questions of collusion with Russian Federation or obstruction of justice. Patten worked with Manafort's Russian associate Kilimnik through 2017 and admitted in court to illegally using a straw purchaser to buy Trump inaugural tickets for an oligarch.

For a while it looked like Manafort was going to play the good soldier.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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