Ex-Trump campaign chief to plead guilty before new trial

14 September, 2018, 18:44 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen Manafort left arrives at federal court in Washington Friday Sept. 14 2018. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel’s offi

Manafort is expected to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge that accused him of money laundering, tax fraud, and lying to investigators, according to a document filed in federal court.

Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation.

The longtime political operator who had advised presidents from Gerald Ford to Trump has been incarcerated since mid-June, when D.C. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled he posed a flight risk and a danger to the community. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

As part of his guilty plea agreement with special prosecutor Robert Mueller the former Trump campaign chairman will forfeit four of his homes: three in NY - including one in the Hamptons - and one in Virginia.

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President Trump has the power to grant Manafort a pardon for the eight counts he was convicted of in Alexandria as well as any charges he could be convicted of in the second trial-and for that matter, any convictions that may result if he were retried on the ten mistrial charges.

Another approach would be for him to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and was elevated to chair in May.

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Manafort is due to reappear in court Friday for pre-trial proceedings stemming from charges of money laundering for Russia-linked politicians. Five other charges were dropped in the new court filing.

The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously - but unsuccessfully - against Mueller's probe.

The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Trump last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. But even so, the former Trump campaign manager was evidently ready to cut his losses.

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On Twitter on August 22, Trump wrote: "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal".

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