Manafort Enters Guilty Plea in Advance of New Trial

Paul Manafort Photo: AP photo
Paul Manafort

September 14, 2018 11:27 AM

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to two federal charges as part of a cooperation deal with prosecutors.

The deal requires him to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

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The charges against Manafort are related to his Ukrainian consulting work - not Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which is the central issue in the special counsel's investigation.

Friday's move gives Mueller another successful conviction while allowing Manafort to avoid facing another costly public trial.

Manafort was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.


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It's unclear how the deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

Manafort has aggressively fought the charges against him and taken shots at his co-defendant, Rick Gates, who cut a deal with prosecutors earlier this year that included a cooperation agreement.

At the time of Gates' plea, Manafort issued a statement saying he "had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence." And during his Virginia trial in August, Manafort's lawyers spent considerable time painting Gates as a liar, embezzler, philanderer and turncoat who would say anything to get a lighter prison sentence.

Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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