Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Howard TerrySep 14, 2018

Prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller's team filed a superseding criminal information against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday, a document that signals Manafort will plead guilty and avoid a second trial expected to begin on Monday. The charges were filed in a criminal information, a document that suggests a deal has been reached.

Kathleen Manafort, wife of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, arrives prior to a pre-trial hearing for Paul Manafort ahead of his upcoming trial on a range of charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2018.

It's unclear how the possible deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.

The longtime lobbyist resigned from his position as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid increasing scrutiny of his work on behalf of a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

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

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the United States for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation.

Manafort was accused of concealing from the IRS tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from his Ukrainian patrons and conspiring to launder that money through offshore accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere.

This, in turn, may endear him to President Trump, who has already called Manafort a "good man" who has been unfairly targeted by the Justice Department.

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. Court papers indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19 1/2 years in prison under federal guidelines.

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