Paul Manafort pleads guilty, avoid new trial

Paul Manafort looks on as Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. A superseding crim

Paul Manafort looks on as Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. A superseding crim

Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the USA and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses, according to a court filing Friday.

One last key detail is that as part of Manafort's plea deal, he will forfeit bank accounts and properties worth $46 million dollars-meaning that the Mueller investigation just paid for itself more than twice over.

Prosecutors indicated Manafort will work with Mueller's team, which is examining potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller announced a new superseding criminal information against Manafort.

"Manafort essentially took over the campaign as of mid-April 2016 and was Trump's go-to man during a critical period of the campaign", De la Vega told the Guardian. Other counts were dropped.

The White House says Manafort's decision to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller is "totally unrelated" to President Donald Trump. But Friday morning provided the latest, strongest evidence that the probe has not been hindered.

The president has signalled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon. Separately, Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, implicated him in a criminal campaign finance violation during his own plea hearing in federal court last month.

It's unclear which charges Manafort is pleading guilty to.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign", she said.

Hurricane Florence, Helene, Isaac in the Atlantic
The NHC also was tracking two other hurricanes farther out in the Atlantic: Category 1 Isaac and Category 2 Helene. A hurricane warning is in effect from the South Santee River in SC to Duck, North Carolina.

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

Mueller, who is primarily examining Russian election interference, has secured guilty pleas and cooperation from several people, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

According to the court filing, the charge of conspiracy against the United States includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, and acting as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. In return, Manafort will not face a second trial in which he could receive more severe punishment.

Manafort was in attendance at the now-infamous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting between himself, Trump's son Donald Trump, Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a group of Russians led by a Kremlin-linked lawyer, as Inquisitr has covered.

Taking the plea deal is a stunning reversal of legal strategy for Manafort, who endured a three-week trial in Eastern Virginia in which the government presented a highly compelling case to extract guilty verdicts on eight of 18 counts. He left the campaign in August that year - days after the New York Times reported a Ukraine investigation had uncovered $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments involving Manafort from 2007 to 2012. Places like Virginia and NY, both of which have Democratic attorneys general, could prosecute Manafort on state tax violations, for instance.

Prosecutors applied "tremendous pressure on him" he claimed, but Manafort "refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal".

In a later version of the statement, the last line about Manafort telling the truth was removed - perhaps an acknowledgement that at some point Mr Trump's side may have to call into question the former top campaign aide's veracity. A plea deal puts us just this much closer to what I believe will inevitably result in a resignation.

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

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