Manafort will cooperate with special counsel

Posted at 12:35 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 14:35:33-04

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will be cooperating with the special counsel in its Russia investigation, prosecutor Andrew Weissman told the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Friday.

Weissman referred to Manafort’s plea deal as a cooperation agreement in court Friday, which could jeopardize his chances of a presidential pardon. Manafort is pleading guilty to charges the special counsel filed Friday of conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The former includes money laundering, tax fraud, failing to file Foreign Bank Accounts, and the latter includes the charge of witness tampering.

In the courtroom, Manafort stared straight ahead, while Weissman read the litany of illegal acts to which Manafort is pleading guilty.

The charges were filed in a superseding criminal information — a formal criminal charge — which lays out the facts of the offense and is often the precursor to the announcement of a deal. Manafort reached a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid his upcoming trial on charges related to his foreign lobbying work, CBS News reported Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released this statement on Manafort. “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign,” she wrote. “It is totally unrelated.” -Sarah Sanders

The charges in the information say that Manafort will have to forfeit property that was derived from or traceable to his offenses. The special counsel listed some of the property that he could have to give up, including the following:

  • Brooklyn, New York apartment on Union Street
  • New York apartment on Howard Street
  • Watermill, New York property at 174 Job Lane
  • Arlington, Virginia property on Edgewood Street.
  • Funds from three bank accounts, a life insurance policy and an investment account

In August, Manafort was found guilty on eight out of 18 counts of financial crimes in his first trial in Virginia. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts, which ended in mistrial.

The plea deal precludes the need for the second trial, sparing Manafort the steep legal fees of a second round of prosecution.

In August, Manafort’s attorneys filed a motion requesting the trial be moved from Washington to Roanoke, Virginia. A judge denied the request. Manafort has been in jail since June 15 when a judge revoked his bail for violating the terms of his release.