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Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty in Mueller probe
15 September 2018, 08:26 | Devin Moran
Manafort is pleading guilty to two criminal counts in Washington federal court - reports
Mueller, who is primarily examining Russian election interference, has secured guilty pleas and cooperation from several people, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Federal prosecutors in NY are considering criminal charges against Greg Craig, a former Obama White House counsel, as part of a investigation into whether he failed to register as a foreign agent, sources told CNN Friday.
Later on Friday, the White House said Manafort's decision to plead guilty to two criminal counts and to cooperate with the special counsel's probe had "nothing to do" with Trump's election victory nearly two years ago.
According to court documents, Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller "in any and all matters as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant". In addition to the financial and lobbying charges against Manafort, the special counsel's team has said it's investigating allegations he colluded with Russian Federation while working for Trump.
Manafort's involvement in the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer and self-described informant), and Russian operatives is also of interest to Mueller.
Both cases brought against Manafort by the special counsel stem from his work in Ukraine. Several lawyers, Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS agents who had worked on the case attended the hearing, occupying two-and-a-half rows in the audience. Giuliani added that "the president did nothing wrong".
The two revised charges are conspiracy to defraud the United States related to lying to investigators, money laundering and other financial crimes, and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to influence witnesses in his case. Regarding the Washington case, Manafort was accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiring to launder money, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department about the nature of his work. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts, which ended in mistrial.
Paul Manafort To Plead Guilty In Agreement to Avert A Second Federal Trial
When Manafort eventually goes for sentencing, the agreement notes that Mueller will let the court know how much Manafort did or did not cooperate. And the judge may decide to run those sentences consecutively or concurrently. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Read the charges against Manafort. The document accuses Manafort of using offshore accounts to hide income, cheating the United States out of more than $15 million in taxes. To all of these questions Manafort responded "I did".
What's extraordinary about this plea agreement, though, is the lack of protections Manafort has if that scenario were to play out.
"Once he agrees to cooperate, he has to cooperate about everything", Dershowitz said. "I do", he replied. He shook his head and said "no". Gates later pleaded guilty and began cooperating with Mueller. "Bada bing bada boom", Manafort wrote to a colleague, prosecutors say.
Manafort's cooperation came just ahead of a Washington, DC trial in which he faced charges of money laundering, obstruction of justice, and tax fraud, among other charges.
"It is totally unrelated", said Sarah Sanders said, White House spokesperson.
"This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", she said.
Arlington, Virginia property on Edgewood Street. In return, Manafort will not face a second trial in which he could receive more severe punishment. Trump had saluted that stance, publicly praising him and suggesting Manafort had been treated worse than gangster Al Capone. But Friday morning provided the latest, strongest evidence that the probe has not been hindered. There will be a joint status report filed in 60 days.
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