Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager, attempted to work out a plea deal with prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in a second investigation launched against him, but the talks were unsuccessful, and both sides will be headed to trial in September.
A grand jury is set to hear the case against Manafort in Washington, D.C., where he’s been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to launder money in relation to business dealings as a consultant in Ukraine in 2010, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal.
In the first trial, where similar allegations were brought against Manafort in a court in Alexandria, Virginia, the former consultant in Ukraine was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, while the jury could not reach a verdict on 10 other counts on Aug. 21. Manafort’s defense team attempted to reach a plea deal for the second set of charges in the final days of jury deliberation in his first trial. (RELATED: Paul Manafort Found Guilty On Eight Counts Of Tax And Bank Fraud)
The second trial will focus on whether or not Manafort conspired to influence U.S. officials during the 2016 presidential election by participating in foreign meddling.
He was unable to sustain a plea because of unspecified issues brought forth by the special counsel team, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Trump previously praised Manafort on Twitter for not accepting a plea in his first trial, saying that under “tremendous pressure” by Mueller’s investigation, “unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’- make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.'”
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, reached a plea in a separate investigation where he was being charged with tax evasion, bank fraud and violating campaign finance rules, on the same day as the Manafort verdict. In accepting his plea, Cohen implicated the president, claiming that Trump directed him to use campaign cash to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair, allegations which the president has since denied.
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