Paul Manafort expected to plead guilty, avoid second trial

Paul Manafort

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In a D.C. federal courtroom, Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of obstruction of justice through witness tampering.

On Thursday, CBS News reported that Manafort had reached the deal with federal prosecutors to avoid his upcoming trial on charges related to his foreign lobbying work.

The former Trump campaign chairman agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, but the important question is whether he knows anything about the alleged Donald Trump-Russia collusion tale that made Mr. Manafort a target. "It is totally unrelated". "It would not surprise me if he got time served for both cases", Allenbaugh said. But the court filing says Manafort admits to the actions.

The sentencing guidelines outlined in the plea indicate Manafort could face between 17 and nearly 22 years in prison for the crimes and pay a fine of $42,400. It's still not clear what will happen to those charges in Virginia federal court.

Last month, Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of eighteen counts of fraud by a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge that Manafort's plea deal is a "cooperation agreement". The reason: "the President did nothing wrong".

It was the second version of the statement. The initial version, which was quickly revised, included "Paul Manafort will tell the truth" as part of the quote. The amended version removed the phrase. The special counsel's office issued the following statement regarding the plea: "Court has scheduled an arraignment and plea agreement hearing today for US v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr., 69, of Alexandria, Va., at 11 a.m".

It also includes Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last month to breaking campaign finance laws - charges that were brought by the US attorney in Manhattan - after referral from Mueller.

It could yet turn out, of course, that Trump has nothing to hide and the special counsel will have nothing to find against him.

As with the Virginia case, the trial in Washington focused on criminal charges that largely predated Manafort's time with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. "'Justice" took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a "deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!" Jackson is allowing prosecutors to mention that Manafort was campaign chairman in August 2016 when press reports, including articles by The Associated Press, called attention to his lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

It's true that nothing public in Mueller's investigation so far has touched Trump on the central questions of collusion with Russian Federation or obstruction of justice.

The guilty plea also heads off a second trial that would have taken place in Washington.

Paul Callan is a CNN legal analyst, a former NY homicide prosecutor and of counsel to the NY law firm of Edelman & Edelman PC, focusing on wrongful conviction and civil rights cases.

Trump has the power to issue a presidential pardon for Manafort on federal charges.

In late July, an attorney for Manafort told CBS News' Paula Reid that there was "no chance" his client would cooperate with the special counsel in its Russian Federation probe.

The long-time Washington power player's fight against the special counsel investigation is over not with a bang, but with a plea deal.

Manafort agreed to work with investigators in the Russian Federation probe.

In the courtroom, Manafort stared straight ahead, while Weissman read a condensed version of the litany of illegal acts to which Manafort is pleading guilty.

For a while it looked like Manafort was going to play the good soldier.

The move allows him to avoid a second criminal trial.

As with his conviction last month on other charges, Mr. Manafort's Friday guilty plea concerns his business as a political fixer long before he worked for the Trump campaign. He also attended a June 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

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