Paul Manafort Agrees to Plead Guilty in Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort Agrees to Plead Guilty in Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort has made a decision to plead guilty to charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and avoid a second criminal trial, but it's unclear whether he will cooperate with Mueller's inquiry into Russian election interference. The charges were filed in a criminal information, a document that suggests a deal has been reached. Manafort is admitting his guilt to those 10 remaining charges by pleading guilty on Friday, according to the plea agreement, but those charges will be dismissed at the time of Manafort's sentencing in Virginia, or at the time of the end of his cooperation, Weissman said.

The former includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Accounts, and the latter includes the charge of witness tampering.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort, conspiring with his former business partner Richard Gates and Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik, illegally lobbied on behalf of a foreign government by failing to register as a foreign agent. Regarding the Washington case, Manafort was accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiring to launder money, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department about the nature of his work.

It is not clear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

The guilty plea will allow Manafort to avert a second trial in D.C. stemming from Mueller's probe.

Manafort's cooperation would be viewed as significant to Mueller's investigation, given his work on the Trump campaign.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.




However, none of the charges relate to collusion with Russian Federation in the election. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

Trump has raised the idea of a pardon for Manafort with White House aides and others, a source told NPR.

Manafort has already been convicted of financial fraud in Virginia.

Kevin M. Downing, an attorney for Manafort, also said earlier this summer there was "no chance" his client would flip and cooperate with prosecutors.

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. There were 18 counts altogether, but Ellis declared a mistrial on those charges when jurors couldn't reach an agreement on them-and that hung jury came about because of a lone juror.

As much evidence as Mueller's team had against Manafort in the first trial, they have even more evidence in the second trial.

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