President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a plea deal which reportedly has decreased the felony counts against him from seven to two.
#Breaking: Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge his plea agreement is a "cooperation agreement," and the other charges they will drop at sentencing at "or at the agreement of successful cooperation."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 14, 2018
The new charges, reduced to conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice, are expected to be announced Friday morning, according to Politico.
Manafort will plead guilty to the two charges Friday morning according to a court filing Friday, though it is not clear yet if will cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office in the Russian investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The five remaining charges against Manafort, including money laundering, tax fraud, failing to register as a foreign agent and making false statements, will be dropped.
According to Politico:
The plea deal, set to be officially announced at an 11 a.m. court appearance in Washington, D.C., calls for a 10-year cap on how long Manafort will be sent to prison, and for Manafort to serve time from his separate Virginia and Washington cases concurrently, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Manafort still faces possible charges in the Virginia case declared a mistrial, in which he’s been convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud crimes and could face eight to 10 years in prison.
The plea deal on Friday comes just days before jury selection in the second federal criminal trial was set to begin next week.
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani noted that the president and his lawyers were not worried about a deal by Manafort.
“We can see a reason why he might want to do that,” Giuliani told Politico on Wednesday. “What’s the need for another trial?”
The president said last month that he felt bad for his former campaign manager.
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Giuliani did not feel a plea deal would eliminate the possibility of a pardon by the president in the future.
“I don’t see why it would foreclose it, no,” Giuliani said.
According to The Washington Post:
As part of his deal, the government plans to seize four properties, including a nearly $2 million house in Arlington, Virginia, owned by one of Manafort’s daughters. The deal also calls for forfeiture of four financial accounts and a life insurance policy.
The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously — but unsuccessfully — against Mueller’s probe.
The court document noted that Friday’s original pretrial conference now would be an “arraignment and plea agreement hearing.”
Democrats are giddy at the notion that Manafort allegedly ‘flipped” by pleading guilty and there’s been a reported “cooperation agreement” with the Mueller probe as part of the plea deal.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 14, 2018
Gotta wonder what Paul Manafort's cooperation with the Special Counsel means for Manafort's long-time, close associate Roger Stone.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 14, 2018
Conservatives on the other hand, look at Manafort’s case much like Judge Ellis appeared to … a witch hunt.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on Manafort plea deal: "Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth.” https://t.co/0wzW0fcJ1V pic.twitter.com/0SbVft9uXB
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) September 14, 2018
I'm so old, that I remember when the Mueller investigation was still about Russian Collusion.
…you know, that thing that Paul Manafort isnt pleading guilty to?
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 14, 2018