Did President Trump Just Prepare America For a Manafort Pardon?
- Author: Rogelio Becker Nov 28, 2018,
Nov 28, 2018, 0:58
Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to federal investigators, USA prosecutors said in a court filing, signaling a potential setback to the special counsel's probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 us presidential election. It indicates that not only did Manafort speak extensively with the Justice Department prosecutors for their investigation, but they also believe they were able to verify or refute information he gave them. He was found guilty on eight counts, including tax fraud, money laundering and lying to the government. Manafort's legal team will have to convince Judge Berman Jackson that Manafort offered an honest effort to comply with Mueller's team just to get a sentence within the original deal's parameters, which is now their best-case scenario.
Manafort and his lawyers had been spotted meeting with investigators in the weeks after his plea deal.
Prosecutors don't lightly accuse people of breaching a cooperation agreement, said Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor.
But Mueller's office says Manafort broke his promise and also broke federal law with "crimes and lies".
Buzzfeed News adds: "Prosecutors said they were done working with Manafort, and asked the judge to set a date for sentencing". "You can expect the judge, who has already had some harsh words for Manafort when he violated his bond conditions, tot are this conduct into account at sentencing".
Trump's ongoing attacks against the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller have become more virulent this month, after the president installed a new acting attorney general who has strongly criticized Mueller's probe and suggested cutting its purse-strings.
The only reasonable explanation as to why Manafort would decide not to cooperate with Mueller, thus ensuring that his criminal sentence is much longer in length - perhaps one that amounts to a life sentence, given that Manafort is 69-years-old - is that he is now relying on a presidential pardon.
"He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterization or that he has breached the agreement", the document states. The special counsel team's court filing provided no details about the prevarication. So the question is: "What was he hiding that is worse than going to jail for the rest of your life?" said Joyce Vance, a professor of law at the University of Alabama law school and former federal prosecutor.
Earlier Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos reported to a prison in Wisconsin to serve a 14-day sentence for lying to investigators.