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

14 September, 2018, 18:42 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Paul Manafort looks on as Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. A superseding crim

His decision to plead guilty, indicated in a court filing on Friday, came just days before jury selection was set to begin September 17 in Washington, where Mueller accused him of conspiring to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Ukraine and obstructing justice.

Earlier Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding criminal information document, which presages a plea deal.

If he pleads guilty, Manafort would avoid a trial that was expected to last at least three weeks and posed the potential of adding years onto the seven to 10 years he is already facing under federal sentencing guidelines from his conviction in Virginia.

It's the type of filing typically seen before a plea deal. He could also get a pardon from Trump, which would set off a political firestorm.

However, the deal could involve Manafort's cooperation with Mr Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"If he's helping out Mueller, that's more bad news for Trump".

Manafort, 69, was a key figure in Mr Trump's inner circle, but the president has since sought to distance himself from his former adviser.

If he pleads guilty, he would avoid this trial.


A hearing in the case scheduled for Friday morning was pushed back, according to the federal court's electronic filing system.

Over a 40-year career, Manafort redefined and expanded Washington's influence industry domestically and internationally, parlaying successful campaigns into lobbying opportunities.

Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before taking an unpaid position with Trump's campaign for five months. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

Moscow has denied interfering in the 2016 election and Trump has said there was no collusion.

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

The decision by Trump's onetime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to plead guilty last month in a federal investigation in Manhattan particularly angered the president, who denounced him as a "flipper".

"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. "Such respect for a fearless man!"

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