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Manafort Strikes Plea Deal in Mueller Probe

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President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman pleaded guilty to two counts against him in federal court Friday and promised to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Paul Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a conspiracy against the U.S. “involving 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,” NBC News reported. He also faced a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice involving efforts to influence a witness.

Manafort could face up to 10 years in jail and $500,000 in fines.

Although the charges against Manafort date back long before his involvement in presidential politics, Manafort’s case has drawn substantial interest because he was Trump’s campaign manager for a few weeks around the time of the Republican National Convention and was one of the three Trump associates who were present at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, according to NBC.

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Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has said that he was not worried about any potential plea deal because Manafort had nothing damaging to reveal against Trump.

“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign,” Giuliani said in a statement, according to Fox News.  “The reason: the president did nothing wrong.”

The plea deal means Manafort will forfeit the properties he owns in New York, including a Trump Tower apartment. Manafort also has to give up several bank accounts.

Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney, said it was a “tough day” for his client, “but he’s accepted responsibility, and he wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

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“He has accepted responsibility, and this is for conduct that dates back many years. Everybody should remember that,” Downing said.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said the plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller includes cooperating with prosecutors investigating any possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The cooperation agreement in the plea deal does not mention Trump by name, CNN reported

Manafort was also accused of taking in more than $60 million from pro-Russian Ukrainians and then laundering that money to avoid taxes, according to the filing published by USA Today.

“Manafort cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes,” the latest court filing said.

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Manafort “used his hidden overseas wealth to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States” and “spent millions of dollars on luxury goods and services,” the filing said, adding that he “used these offshore accounts to purchase multi-million dollar properties in the United States,” USA Today reported.

In August, Manafort was convicted of eight felonies during a trial in Virginia.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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