Seventeen months, two trials, and one voided plea deal later, the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has finally learned his fate: He’ll spend about seven years in federal prison for crimes he committed over more than a decade, marking one of the biggest prosecutorial victories for Special Counsel Robert Mueller since he launched his investigation nearly two years ago.

Nevertheless, Mueller might not be quite done with Manafort yet, former prosecutors tell me. Court documents and pre-sentence hearings that dealt with the breach of Manafort’s plea deal suggest that prosecutors might have more ammunition to go after the 69-year-old on matters that go directly to the question of a conspiracy with Russia, rather than the financial crimes and violations of foreign-agent laws that he’s been charged with to date.

Manafort pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine. But he “intentionally made multiple false statements” to the FBI, the special counsel’s office, and the grand jury “concerning matters that were material to the investigation: his interactions and communications” with the suspected Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik, D.C. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled last month. As such, questions remain about Manafort’s interactions with Russians during the campaign—questions that go to the main focus of the Mueller investigation into a potential election conspiracy.

[Read: The origins of Paul Manafort]

“The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur,” Jackson said during Manafort’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday, referring to Manafort’s attorneys’ claim that Mueller had found no evidence of collusion with Russia. “It’s also not accurate because the investigation is ongoing.”

The first clue that Mueller’s interest in Manafort goes beyond his financial crimes came early last month, when one of the top prosecutors on Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, said in …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics


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