Paul Manafort will plead guilty, forfeit many assets in special counsel probe

Cheryl Sanders
September 14, 2018

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort appears to have reached a plea agreement with Robert Mueller, the special counsel's office signaled Friday.

The new court filing indicates that prosecutors have taken a number of the earlier charges against Manafort, including a money laundering charge that could, on its own, bring a 20-year sentence, and folded them into two charges that would each yield five-year sentences. The charges, which replace the existing indictment of Manafort, were done as a "criminal information", a legal document that can only be filed with the defendant's consent. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

At the time of Gates' plea, Manafort issued a statement saying he "had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.


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 USA election.

However, none of the charges relate to collusion with Russian Federation in the election.

That posture drew plaudits from Trump, who praised his former campaign chairman for his unwillingness to cooperate with the special counsel.

Trump has sought advice from his lawyers on the possibility of pardoning Manafort and other aides accused of crimes, his attorney Rudy Giuliani previously told The Washington Post, and was counseled against pardoning anyone involved in the ongoing Mueller probe.


He said that, should the deal include Manafort's cooperation with Mr Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, it could be bad news for the United States president.

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the US for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. Manafort was lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russian party in Ukraine, the Party of Regions, and was credited of resuscitating the career of its leader, Viktor Yanukovych, who won the presidency in 2010.

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.


Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER