Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Manafort pleads guilty to conspiracy against U.S. and obstructing justice

Manafort also admitted guilt in 10 outstanding counts previously filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Convicted last month on eight counts of financial crimes, including tax fraud, bank fraud, and failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice. According to the terms of his plea agreement, Manafort admitted guilt in 10 counts outstanding from his earlier trial and agreed to fully cooperate with prosecutors.

In October 2017, Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign associate Rick Gates were indicted on 12 counts, including money laundering, acting as unregistered agents of the Ukrainian government, and tax fraud. On February 22, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Manafort and Gates with 32 counts, including 16 counts related to false individual income tax returns, seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy, and four counts of bank fraud.

After Gates pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Special Counsel’s Office and one count of conspiracy against the United States, Manafort was found guilty last month of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts. Facing another federal trial scheduled to begin later this month in Washington, D.C., Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to one new count of participating in a conspiracy against the United States — involving 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 one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice for his attempted witness tampering earlier this year.

According to the terms of his plea agreement, Manafort has agreed to “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with the Government and other law enforcement authorities identified by the Government in any and all matters as to which the Government deems the cooperation relevant.” In addition to forfeiting all funds contained in four bank accounts and a life insurance policy, Manafort has agreed to forfeit five of his properties in New York, including his home in the Hamptons and his Trump Tower condo.

In his statement of the offense, Manafort also admitted guilt in 10 outstanding counts previously filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, including three counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and seven counts of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy. Although Manafort admitted guilt to the other 10 Virginia charges, prosecutors have agreed not to use his admission of guilt against him unless he violates the terms of his plea deal.

The two new counts of conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to obstruct justice carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, up to $500,000 in fines, and six years of supervised release. His sentencing has been delayed pending the fulfillment of his cooperation with the prosecution.

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