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Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller
15 September 2018, 06:16 | Erica Roy
Jose Luis Magana Associated Press File Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort
The deal gives special counsel Robert Mueller a key cooperator who led the Trump election effort for a crucial stretch during the 2016 presidential campaign, though the White House quickly said the outcome had nothing to do with that.
Friday's deal, to charges tied to Ukrainian political consulting work but unrelated to the campaign, was struck just days before Manafort was to have stood trial for a second time.
Manafort began working for Trump's campaign in March 2016 and was made manager two months later.
Prosecutors will drop the five remaining charges in DC federal court against Manafort, including money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, violating federal foreign lobbying law and lying to the Department of Justice. To accomplish this goal, he hoped to spread the allegation of anti-Semitism against former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a maneuver that was supposed to bolster the standing in Washington of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Read the charges against Manafort. 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 long resisted the idea of cooperating even as prosecutors stacked additional charges against him in Washington and Virginia.
No matter how you look at it, this deal has to be seen as a massive victory for Mueller and his special counsel team.
President Donald Trump is not going to be very happy about this most recent news.
The probe has cast a shadow over the Republican's presidency and Manafort's decision to cooperate deals a setback to Mr Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6. "Mueller would not have given him a deal unless Manafort was able to help Mueller make a case against someone else or significantly strengthen an existing case".
Manafort also agreed not to appeal any trial or pre-trial issues in his Eastern District of Virginia conviction, and "abandons any interest he has in all forfeitable property and consents to any disposition of the property by the government without further notice" - to the tune of $46 million, something any presidential pardon could not retrieve. "If Manafort says anything that's false, everything, everything goes away, including this plea agreement".
The second count explains how, between February and April of this year, Manafort conspired to obstruct justice through witness tampering. Stone's communications have been a subject of the Mueller investigation, sources familiar with interviews of other Stone associates have said.
Earlier this year, Rick Gates, who served as deputy chairman for the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to charges of plotting.
In a court document, Manafort said he was guilty of plotting against the United States and plotting to obstruct justice. For now, Manafort has agreed to cough up close to $50 million to the feds in penalties, enough, incidentally, to pay for the Mueller investigation's activities for several years. He also attended a June 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.
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On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. According to CNN , the hurricane hit the east coast of the USA with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.
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