Paul Manafort pleaded guilty in his criminal case in Washington, D.C. federal court on Friday, after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding information with just two charges against the former Trump campaign manager. Manafort pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Previously, he was facing those charges, plus five others, including obstruction of justice, providing false statements, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.
In exchange for dropping several of the charges, Manafort has reportedly agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s ongoing investigation. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge that Manafort’s plea deal is a “cooperation agreement.”
🚨🚨🚨 Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department. Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told the judge his plea agreement is a “cooperation agreement,” and the other charges they will drop at sentencing at “or at the agreement of successful cooperation.”
— erica orden (@eorden) September 14, 2018
The conspiracy to obstruct justice charge is based on allegations of alleged witness tampering after Manafort was already initially charged with several crimes related to his work for the Ukrainian government. The superseding information says that Manafort, with assistance from associate Konstantin Kilimnik, tried to influence two individuals “to induce them to say falsely that they did not work in the United States as part of the lobbying campaign, even though MANAFORT then and there well knew that they did lobby within the United States.”
According to Manafot’s plea agreement, sentencing guidelines estimate a potential sentence of between 210 and 262 months in prison, but his sentence will ultimately be determined by a judge.
This comes ten days before Manafort’s trial was set to begin. He was convicted earlier this summer on eight out of 18 counts in a bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia federal court.
Note: This article has been updated with news that Manafort’s plea deal is a cooperation agreement.
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