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Key Takeaways from Paul Manafort's Plea Deal With Mueller

Key Takeaways from Paul Manafort's Plea Deal With Mueller

Perhaps our real hope is an impending resignation: Oh this is big-Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman is reportedly entering a plea deal to avoid a second bout in federal court.

Mueller filed superseding criminal information in U.S. District Court in Washington, an indication that Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of witness tampering.

Had he made a decision to cooperate with prosecutors well before that trial began - he had months to do so - the plea agreement would probably have looked a lot different, and more balanced, than the one filed in court Friday in D.C. Other counts were dropped.

"He wanted to be able to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life".

Manafort, in a trial set to begin September 24 in federal court in Washington, is facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering. Trump's former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on 8 charges of financial fraud, but as he's staring down the barrel of another trial, he's decided to take make a deal with Mueller.

Note: This article has been updated with news that Manafort's plea deal is a cooperation agreement. The document accuses Manafort of using offshore accounts to hide income, cheating the United States out of more than $15 million in taxes.

Paul Manafort will plead guilty to avoid a second trial.

Nothing linking President Trump personally to any criminal acts surfaced during the first Manafort trial in Virginia.

Under the terms of the deal, Manafort was allowed to plead guilty to just two counts, though the crimes he admitted largely overlap with the conduct alleged in an indictment previous year.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (r) claimed that Paul Manafort's cooperation with the Mueller probe is "totally unrelated" to Donald Trump. Any deal would not be final until Manafort admits guilt before the judge, who would need to approve the plea.

One last key detail is that as part of Manafort's plea deal, he will forfeit bank accounts and properties worth $46 million dollars-meaning that the Mueller investigation just paid for itself more than twice over.

Even though the Manafort case was tangential to the central thrust of Mr Mueller's inquiry - relating to his work as a lobbyist, and not possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign - this still marks a significant development in the special counsel's investigation.

Mueller has already secured cooperation from a former national security adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about discussing sanctions with a Russian ambassador, a campaign aide who broached the idea of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; and another aide who was indicted alongside Manafort but ultimately turned on him. 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.

The president has signalled 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.

For months, analysts, experts and political talking heads have speculated Trump could reward Manafort with a presidential pardon for holding out on a plea agreement - where he would be asked all sorts of questions about his dealings with the president on the 2016 campaign - and going to trial.

It has been reported that Mr Trump's legal team is quite relaxed about Manafort's change of heart, believing that there is very little he can tell Mueller's team.

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.


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