Paul Manafort Will Cooperate With Special Counsel

Friday, September 14th 2018, 10:47 am

By: News 9

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. In late July, an attorney for Manafort told CBS News' Paula Reid that there was "no chance" his client would cooperate with the special counsel in its Russia probe. It is not yet clear whether Manafort's cooperation is related to President Trump or whether he would provide information on some other aspect of the investigation.

The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was asked by Reid whether he had been told by Manafort's attorneys that the cooperation deal will not require him to share anything related to the president. "I'm confident," he replied, without saying whether Manafort's lawyers had given him this assurance.

Manafort is pleading guilty to charges the special counsel filed Friday on 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. 

Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing told reporters after the hearing that his client has "accepted responsibility" for conduct dating back "many years," and he "wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life." 

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."

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.

Major Garrett and Katie Ross Dominick contributed to this report.

Here's the superseding criminal information:

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