Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges as part of a plea deal that includes his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Manafort admitted to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice, and could be facing up to 10 years in prison.
What Manafort may tell Mueller and his team as part of the plea deal remains unclear, but you can see the plea, along with an extensive description of Manafort's crimes, below.
Fraud and Obstruction
"Manafort laundered more than $30 million to buy property, goods, and services in the
United States," according to the court filing, "income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice, and others. Manafort cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes." The plea details an extensive money laundering scheme to hide income and assets, along with Manafort's lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, which he also concealed from U.S. investigators:
PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR. (MANAFORT) served for years as a political consultant and
lobbyist. Between at least 2006 and 2015, MANAFORT conspired with Richard W. Gates(Gates), Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik), and others to act, and acted, as unregistered agents of a foreign government and political party. Specifically, MANAFORT conspired to act and acted as an agent of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions (a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was President from 2010 to 2014), President Yanukovych, and the Opposition Bloc (a successor to the Party of Regions that formed in 2014 when Yanukovych fled to Russia). MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work. In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT, with the assistance of Gates and Kilimnik, laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts.
Plea and Cooperation
The biggest question about Manafort's plea is what it will mean for President Donald Trump. And the consensus so far is that it will not be good. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at the beginning of Friday's plea hearing that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with investigators looking into collusion between Russian interests and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. When asked after Manafort entered his guilty plea if the deal with Mueller's team is a full cooperation agreement, Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing, replied, "It is."
What, exactly, Manafort will tell Mueller's team, and what effect that will have on his sentence remains to be seen. Prosecutors have yet to recommend any sentence, and the judge made no mention of any offers or recommendations from prosecutors regarding leniency in case of substantial cooperation. Here's is the full plea document (sans exhibits):
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