Paul Manafort Pleads Guilty to Two Charges, Agrees to Cooperate with Mueller Probe
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Paul Manafort speaks during a Bloomberg Politics interview on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland on July 18, 2016.
Former Trump campaign chairman’s deal includes potentially acting as witness in special counsel investigation.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has cut a “cooperation agreement” with prosecutors and intends to plead guilty to charges related to his Ukrainian consulting work. The deal allows Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington.
Manafort was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia. Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday (Sept. 14) that Manafort had struck a “cooperation agreement.” He did not elaborate on the agreement. Manafort told the judge he wants to plead guilty.
Manafort’s second trial would have been related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Reacting to the news, the White House says Manafort’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is “totally unrelated” to the president.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders says in a statement, “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.” Manafort says he intends to plead guilty to charges including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice relating to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
Manafort was instrumental to President Donald Trump’s securing the GOP nomination in 2016 and served on his campaign until August of that year.