Dershowitz: Manafort cooperation is a 'big win' for Mueller

15 September, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, is surrendering four properties and money from several bank accounts as a part of a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in court Friday that Manafort must participate in interviews and debriefings, provide documents and testify in future cases.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at the beginning of Friday's plea hearing that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

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.

If he pleads guilty, Manafort would avoid a trial that was expected to last at least three weeks and posed the potential of adding years onto the seven to 10 years he is already facing under federal sentencing guidelines from his conviction in Virginia.

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"Well of course they should be", Dershowitz said, though he noted that Manafort is "not a credible witness" and might not be able to prove Trump's guilt on an impeachable offense.

Trump last month praised his former campaign aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

Under the terms of the deal, Manafort was allowed to plead guilty to just two conspiracy counts, though the crimes he admitted cover the same conduct alleged in an indictment previous year. But Manafort, whom we can safely assume is one of "the young and handsome lives (and others)" the president once lamented were being destroyed by the investigation, can nearly certainly expect to soon be the subject of a presidential tweetstorm that in no way demeans the highest office in the land.

Giuliani has told NPR that Trump discussed a possible pardon earlier this summer, but he said the president agreed not to move forward with the idea. After news of Manafort's conviction, Trump tweeted on August 22 that he felt "very badly" for Manafort and his family, adding, "U$3 nlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break"-make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a fearless man!"

Manafort had other charges dropped but he still looks likely to go to prison, marking a steep fall from grace for a multi-millionaire who was often at Trump's side as the Republican candidate took USA politics by storm in 2016. The result also ensures the investigation will extend far beyond the November congressional elections despite entreaties from the president's lawyers that Mueller bring his probe to a close.

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

Manafort has not yet been sentenced in the Virginia case.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Manafort case was unrelated to Trump.

Behind bars in the Alexandria, Va., detention center, Manafort's dark hair has sprouted patches of gray. The jury in Virginia found that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes and then lied to get loans when the political party that was paying him was ousted from power and the funding dried up. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts, which ended in mistrial.

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