World

Mueller Drops Most of Manafort’s Charges as Part of Cooperation Agreement

Mueller Drops Most of Manafort’s Charges as Part of Cooperation Agreement

According to NPR, Manafort has made a decision to plead guilty on Friday, Sept. 14, to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering.

Prosecutors reduced the set of charges against Manafort on Friday from seven to two. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge that Manafort's plea deal is a "cooperation agreement". It's unclear what the terms of Manafort's cooperation agreement are.

If Manafort were to cooperate with Mueller, that could provide investigators new evidence or leads to chase; a guilty plea, however, would prevent weeks worth of headlines about the trial in the month before congressional elections.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the Manafort news on Friday.

But depending on the extent of his cooperation and the degree to which prosecutors argue for reducing his sentence, Manafort could end up getting anywhere from a year to five years in prison, according to Mark Allenbaugh.

"One thing that we've seen is that the Mueller team only speaks through court filings and through court presentations-trial or oral arguments", Sandick said.

That includes Manafort's former deputy, Rick Gates, who testified against Manafort in Virginia.

Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in a second Manafort trial on charges including conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

Manafort has been holed up in jail pending his second trial after Berman revoked his $10 million bond earlier this summer. It's still not clear what will happen to those charges in Virginia federal court. However, Manafort's web of connections in the murky world of lobbying and foreign influence means that the information prosecutors extract from him may not involve the president. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also weighed in with the same basic message, telling reporters that Friday's events are unrelated to Trump.




It was the second version of the statement.

He was among the participants, for instance, in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians and Trump's oldest son and son-in-law that was arranged for the campaign to receive derogatory information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.

According to that report, Trump had initially picked former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) as his running mate, but Manafort "had another idea in mind". But last month, Trump expressed sympathy for him.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family", Mr Trump tweeted at the time, and compared him favourably against Michael Cohen, the...

Not only did Manafort plead guilty, he also entered an agreement to cooperate with Muellers Avengers of prosecutors, scoring a lighter sentence for spilling all the tea he knows.

In December, Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Jury selection was due to start on Monday.

Manafort, 69, earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for foreign governments and spent that money freely, including on a $15,000 ostrich coat, landscaping and real estate.

He will also be cooperating with the special counsel in its Russian Federation investigation, prosecutor Andrew Weissman told the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Friday.

Mr Trump went so far as to suggest in a television interview that plea deals with prosecutors "should nearly be illegal". He was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.