> Information about Manafort's plea bargain

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Phillip_McCavity
#1 2018-09-15 00:01:21

Information about Manafort's plea bargain

https://www.lawfareblog.com/manafort-gu … -president

As media outlets breathlessly reported, Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. What that means in practice is not clear, and readers should be wary of anyone who claims with any confidence to know what Manafort’s cooperation will bring.

Included in the plea agreement is a fairly standard cooperation clause. Manafort has agreed to cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly” with law enforcement entities, “any and all Grand Juries,” and trials in “any and all matters” that the government deems relevant.  Sentencing in both this case and the one in the Eastern District of Virginia can be delayed until after Manafort’s cooperation is completed, as determined by the government. The agreement also states that “no additional criminal charges will be brought against the defendant for his heretofore disclosed participation in criminal activity.” This language, which is also standard fare, leaves open the possibility that criminal conduct not disclosed already could form the basis for new charges against Manafort. It is thus reasonable to expect that Manafort has proffered information to prosecutors and they have decided that this information is both complete enough and useful enough to warrant foregoing further charges. The agreement allows for prosecutors, later on, to move for leniency from the sentencing judge based on “substantial assistance in the form of truthful information and, where applicable, testimony.” Importantly, according to the plea agreement, the parties agree that Manafort’s sentencing range under federal sentencing guidelines is between 210 and 262 months. Manafort has explicitly agreed not to seek a sentence outside that range on any grounds. In other words, the only way for Manafort to get less than 17 1/2 years in prison is for the government to file such a motion based on his cooperation. If Manafort wants to not spend the rest of his life in prison, in other words, he had better have something to say. In short, Manafort has had every incentive to be forthcoming so far and has every incentive going forward to cooperate fully.

But that does not answer the question of what information Manafort may have to contribute to the investigation—or, indeed, if he has substantial assistance to offer at all.

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