CNBC reports that Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, has pleaded guilty to two of the seven counts he was facing in DC: conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice.
Manafort, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and purple tie, admitted guilt to revised charges of just two counts of conspiracy, and will resolve the two pending criminal cases against him in Washington and in Virginia federal courts.CNBC
The Criminal Information was filed with the court ahead of Manafort’s court appearance this morning and details, with specificity, the crimes Paul Manafort is pleading guilty to. Per the supersceding document, Manafort admits that he concealed his income from the US government and “cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes”. He also admits to conspiring with Konstantin Kilimnik and others in February 2018 to influence the testimony of witnesses in his trial.
Before he pleaded guilty, the 69 year old faced what was effectively a life sentence. He now faces no more than 10 years in exchange for a “successful” cooperation. Prosecutors say there is a 17 page cooperation agreement with the special counsel, according to CNBC, and that other charges will be dropped at sentencing or after “successful cooperation”.
USA TODAY reports that Paul Manafort appeared upbeat as he told the court he had had sufficient time to consider his plea and that he was of sound mind as he entered his plea of guilty. Other reports indicate Manafort looked defeated and spoke “glumly” as he answered the judge quietly.
As part of plea agreement, the government will be seizing five properties owned by Manafort: his home on Long Island, properties in New York City and in Virginia. He will also forfeit money in three different bank accounts and a life insurance policy.
The cooperation deal follows plea deals by Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen as well as others not directly involved with the Trump campaign. Manafort’s involvement in the Trump Tower meeting could put members of Donald Trump’s inner circle in jeopardy with Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, gave the following statement to the press: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”
A reminder of what President Trump, who is widely speculated to be considering a pardon of Manafort, had to say about his associate last month: