Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes Friday, ahead of his second trial on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations, The Washington Post reported.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office filed a new criminal information document, which usually signals a plea deal, just hours before Manafort was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing, reports BuzzFeed News. The trial could be much shorter if a judge accepts the reported deal. NBC News reports that jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Manafort was convicted last month in a separate trial, on charges of bank and tax fraud. He has refused to cooperate with federal prosecutors, and it remains unclear whether his reported plea deal would provide any information to Mueller's team. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza
Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, is discussing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office a potential plea deal, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Manafort was convicted last month in Virginia on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, in connection with work he did for Ukrainian politicians. He is facing a second trial in Washington, with jury selection expected to start on Monday and opening statements set for Sept. 24. This time around, Manafort is accused of money laundering and lobbying violations, also stemming from his Ukrainian employment.
These negotiations aren't necessarily going to lead to Mueller striking a deal with Manafort, the Post reports, and it's unclear what specific terms they are discussing. In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Manafort's legal team was discussing a deal with prosecutors while the Virginia jury was deliberating, but Mueller reportedly had an issue with the talks and no agreement was made.
Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, made a deal with prosecutors, and in exchange for testifying against Manafort during his first trial, he received leniency. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told the Post earlier that Trump has asked his lawyers about the possibility of pardoning Manafort, but they urged him to hold off on pardoning anyone involved in the Russia investigation until the probe is over. Catherine Garcia
Jeffrey Yohai, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's former son-in-law and business partner, reached a secret plea deal with federal prosecutors earlier this year that requires him to cooperate in other state and federal investigations, Reuters, Politico, and other news organizations report. "I can only confirm that he has reached a plea agreement," Yohai attorney James Hinds told BuzzFeed News on Thursday. One of Special Counsel Robert Muller's two criminal indictments against Manafort charges him with bank fraud for allegedly instructing an unidentified son-in-law to pretend he was living in a Manhattan apartment that was being used as a rental property.
Manafort, who invested in real estate with Yohai in California and New York, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Yohai's plea agreement is sealed, but he reportedly pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to criminal fraud in obtaining real estate loans, a case that predate's Mueller's investigation. According to Reuters, Yohai is a "close business partner" who "was privy to many of Manafort's financial dealings." Mueller's team interviewed Yohai last June and reportedly remains interested in what he knows about Manafort. Yohai's divorce with Manafort's daughter was finalized last August. Peter Weber
While he was still serving as Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort sent an email to a Kiev-based employee of his consulting business requesting he tell a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin that if he wanted "private briefings" on the presidential race, Manafort would set it up, several people familiar with the emails told The Washington Post.
Emails on the subject are part of the tens of thousands of documents now in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. The emails are very vague, and no exact name is ever used, but investigators believe they are referring to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate and one of the richest men in Russia. There is no evidence Deripaska ever received the message or any briefings, but investigators think this shows Manafort was ready to use his proximity to Trump for his own benefit, several people told the Post.
The Wall Street Journal reports that it has been difficult for Deripaska to get visas to come to the U.S. because he might have ties to organized crime in Russia, something Deripaska denies. Deripaska has paid Manafort as an investment consultant, and in 2014 took him to court in the Cayman Islands, accusing Manafort of taking nearly $19 million in money set aside for investments and being unable to tell him what he did with the money or where it is. Read more about Manafort and Deripaska's relationship at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia