UPDATED 10:37 A.M ET: Yesterday, rumors began floating around that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had worked out a tentative plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller, in regards to charges made against him in his upcoming trial. These charges include money laundering, fraud and acting as a foreign agent.
This morning, Fox News has confirmed that Paul Manafort will in fact plead guilty as part of a plea deal in the case. Originally Manafort’s case was set to have a hearing this past Wednesday, but Judge Amy Berman Jackson delayed it until this morning at 9:30 a.m., before rescheduling it yet again to 11 a.m. this morning.
Yesterday Manafort’s attorneys were seen at special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, where they remained for several hours, and this morning it has been confirmed that a guilty plea will be made on behalf of Manafort sometime today — likely this morning.
The plea deal will result in Manafort admitting guilt to two criminal counts, while five charges will be dropped. The charges that he will plead guilty to include conspiracy against the United States as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice (witness tampering). He will also relinquish approximately $46 million in assets.
Once the guilty plea is in place and the plea deal is official, the media is expected to get all of the details on what it may involve. It’s possible that the deal will not include any cooperation agreement on behalf of Manafort, but some legal experts believe that Mueller would not offer such a deal unless cooperation was promised.
“Manafort would have to be willing to completely cross that river and disclose everything that he’s ever done, everything Donald Trump’s ever done, and everything that everyone around him has ever done,” explained Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, to Bloomberg News. “Not fully cooperating is a deal killer.”
Other legal experts, however, believe the plea deal could take place without including a cooperation agreement.
Former White House Counsel for Richard Nixon, John Dean says, “If Manafort takes a guilty plea without a cooperation agreement it means he is trying to save $$ while waiting for his pardon. Is he merely hoping or has he been given a signal? Mueller should want to know! Mueller can force him to testify w/ immunity so no 5th Amendment rights!”
Manafort is believed to be the man who could hold a lot of the information in regards to possible collusion that took place between the Trump campaign and Russia. Not only could he provide valuable testimony against those who attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016, but also could convince others within the campaign to flip on Trump.