Donald Trump showed once again how much more like some mafia crime boss he is than a president when he praised Paul Manafort for not ratting him out ” like his former attorney Michael Cohen had become. He may end up regretting those words.
On Friday, insiders close to the situation told reporters that Manafort is once again in negotiations to craft a plea deal as his second trial looms. He was convinced of eight felony counts in August that included bank and tax fraud.
According to Bloomberg News:
‘The negotiations over a potential plea deal have centered on which charges Manafort might admit and the length of the sentence to be recommended by prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the person familiar with the matter said. Manafort, 69, already faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case.’
Two options: Manafort can plead guilty & receive a sentencing recommendation reduced to reflect his acceptance of responsibility or he can cooperate with prosecutors, which, if he has something of value to offer, could result in a greatly reduced sentence. https://t.co/xiLTpt3btO
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 7, 2018
It is unclear at this point whether Manafort’s plea would be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or testifying to any crimes committed by Trump or by Manafort during his time as the campaign manager for the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. However, what he is willing to include in his plea may save him from the surely disastrous fate that awaits him in prison if he doesn’t.
‘By pleading guilty, Manafort could avoid the risk of a longer prison term if he’s convicted at a second trial, as well as the threat of forfeiting several properties and financial accounts. He could also save the cost of paying lawyers to defend him at trial. Such white-collar criminal cases can cost defendants millions of dollars.’
Should Manafort give information about the Trump campaign, he loses any chance that Trump might eventually pardon him, and some of the questionable decisions he’s made in his legal battles so far suggest that he’s operating under some assurances that Trump will do so. However, pleading now would avoid the stress of a second trial, one that surely weighs on his family and friends, as well.
Papadopoulos – 14 days prison
Paul Manafort – convicted on 8 counts
Michael Flynn – guilty plea, awaiting sentence
Rick Gates – plea deal
13 Russian nationals & 3 three Russian companies – charged
12 Russian GRU officers – charged
Plus: Pinedo, van der Zwaan, Kilimnik https://t.co/6CVQPCDeeE
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 7, 2018
Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor who followed the first Manafort trial, said:
‘I don’t think they’d be willing to offer a plea deal with a substantially reduced sentence. Manafort might be more interested in a guilty plea because he saw how it went last time. It may be that Mueller is insisting on cooperation before offering any reduction in sentence.’
Manafort participated in plea agreement negotiations with prosecutors once before, but those talks never came to fruition.