September 17, 2018
Paul Manafort—who held out far longer than most Trump confidantes who’d been caught in the high beams of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation—flipped on Friday, September 14.
The POTUS’s former campaign chairman pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann called Manafort’s plea deal a cooperation agreement during an 11 a.m. hearing at the federal courthouse in Washington, NBC News reported.
A charging document filed Friday in the District of Columbia accuses Manafort, 69, of participating in a conspiracy against the United States—involving, the network news outlet said, money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and lying and misrepresenting to the Department of Justice.
The second charge, conspiracy to obstruct justice, is tied to his efforts to guide witness testimony after he was indicted last year.
President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had dangled a pardon for Manafort, provided that he remained “loyal” to the administration. In August, Trump praised Manafort for having “refused to break” in order to get a deal, and said he had “such respect for a brave man.”
Reacting to Friday’s guilty plea, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”
Giuliani commented, as he has for weeks, … “The President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Giuliani later amended the statement to omit “and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.”
Earlier this week, NBC News said, Giuliani told reporters that Manafort and President Trump had a joint defense agreement, meaning defense attorneys for the two men were sharing confidential information. He said he was unconcerned about a potential plea because Manafort had nothing damaging to say about Trump.
As part of the plea, Manafort will be required to admit to the conduct outlined in the charging document, which describes a criminal scheme to launder money, defraud banks, evade taxes and violate lobbying laws. The document describes the conduct Manafort was charged with in both Virginia and Washington and additional criminal conduct.
With his guilty plea, the network’s report said, Manafort will forfeit three properties in New York—his home in the Hamptons, a property in Manhattan on Howard Street, and a property in Brooklyn—as well as a property on Edgewood Street in Arlington, Virginia, according to the filing.
In addition, Manafort forfeits all funds contained in four bank accounts, as well as a life insurance policy.
Research contact: @Tom_Winter