This afternoon saw two major developments in cases brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, though the two cases are separate. In the case in Alexandria, Virginia against Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s one-time campaign manager, the jury brought in guilty verdicts on eight counts but could not agree on the other ten. Manafort is due to face another trial in Washington DC next month.
Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight fraud charges – a resounding victory for special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in the first trial arising from their investigation.
Manafort, 69, was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report a foreign bank account. The charges carry a maximum sentence of decades in prison. He avoided conviction on some charges however, with the jury saying it could not reach a consensus on 10 out of 18 total counts.
Manafort’s conviction brought the tally of former Trump advisers who have pleaded to or been found guilty of crimes in the Mueller investigation to four. Mueller has also secured guilty pleas from a California man and a London-based lawyer, and his team has indicted 26 Russian nationals and three Russian companies.
Then Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York to campaign finance violations in paying off people to influence an election campaign.
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Tuesday said Trump directed him to make payments that violated campaign finance laws, in an effort to keep quiet two women who alleged sexual affairs with the billionaire.
The president has denied any knowledge of the payments at the time they were made. His role in the payments could draw him personally into legal jeopardy, legal analysts said.
The campaign finance charges against Cohen stemmed from payments he made to the pornographic actor Stormy Daniels and to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
As part of the deal, Cohen agreed not to challenge any prison sentence from 46 to 63 months.
I cannot quite figure out what Cohen got in exchange for the guilty plea deal.
We know what follows unfavorable news for Trump. He will issue a barrage of tweets condemning everything and spewing wild allegations against everyone whom he thinks is against him. He will also announce decisions on various matters that he hopes will distract attention from the news, such as how he used the removal of former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance to distract from Omarosa Manigault Newman. But she has said that she is going to release a new video tonight at 7:00pm, the same time as the start of a Trump rally in West Virginia and that may be when he starts his counter-offensive.