Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Paul Manafort faces additional charges ahead of hearing

Paul Manafort Modal Trigger Getty Images
Faye Gross | 14 September, 2018, 18:19

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, will plead guilty on Friday in his second criminal trial, according to NBC News.

Seven charges in a previous indictment against Mr Manafort were reduced to just two in documents submitted to the court Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, signaling a deal had been agreed with Mr Manafort's lawyers to accept guilt.

The court filing, according to the special counsel's office, "alleges a conspiracy against the United States (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) and a conspiracy to obstruct justice (witness tampering)".

It comes three weeks after Paul Manafort was convicted in a separate trial on eight counts related to financial fraud, and as the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation increasingly pressures the White House.

He was facing a second trial Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Manafort and Mueller had also been in plea talks while the jury was in deliberations during his Virginia trial, but those negotiations had fallen through. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

As a potential witness to alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign, Manafort became an early and sustained focus of the Mueller probe.

European Union punishes Hungary with unprecedented action
The vote, however, has little chance of ending up with the ultimate penalty of Hungary being suspended from voting in the EU. Orban has said the mostly Muslim refugees pose an existential threat to Europe's Christian civilization.


Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the US for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

The president has signalled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

At the time of Gates' plea, Manafort issued a statement saying he "had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on August 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work".

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.

He has yet to be sentenced in Virginia, where legal experts say he faces 8 to 10 years in prison under federal guidelines on the eight of 18 counts on which he was convicted.

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