US President Donald Trump’s former campaign-chief, Paul Manafort, on Friday agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into Russian intervention in the country’s 2016 presidential election. Manafort pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he cheated Internal Revenue Service, violated foreign lobbying laws and tried justice, The Washington Post reported.
According to reports, Manafort’s cooperation in this investigation has shaved off a potential 10-year prison sentence. “He wanted to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life. He has accepted responsibility,” The Washington Post quoted Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing, as he gave a brief statement outside the courthouse after the hearing.
In response, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the plea had nothing to do with the 2016 Presidential campaign. “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated,” she said.
Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani stated that the plea showed that Trump did not do anything to influence the election.
“Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: The president did nothing wrong,” he said.
As part of the plea deal made by the 69-year-old political consultant, the government plans to seize five properties worth millions of dollars, including Manafort’s apartment in Trump tower. The deal also calls for forfeiture of a handful of financial accounts and a life insurance policy, The Washington Post has observed.
Manafort, a longtime lobbyist to President Donald Trump resigned from his position as his campaign chairman amid another investigation pertaining to his work in Ukraine, where he allegedly helped the country’s then President Viktor Yanukovych by tarnishing the reputation of the latter’s political rival Yulia Tymoshenko, CNN noted from the legal document as filed by prosecutors to detail Manafort’s laundry list criminal conduct both inside and outside the United States.
Source: Financial Express