Manafort faces federal trial with a hint of a presidential pardon

MSN | 7/19/2016 | By David Willman, Los Angeles Times
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© Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Zuma Press/TNS Paul Manafort on July 19, 2016, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

WASHINGTON — When Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, goes on trial Wednesday in Virginia on charges of money laundering, tax fraud and other crimes, he may have reason to hope he can avoid prison if he is convicted.

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Last month, Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, suggested that Trump may pardon Manafort.

Trump has already pardoned several high-profile supporters.

Giuliani - Framing - Terms - Manafort - Controversy

Giuliani's framing of terms for pardoning Manafort sparked instant political and legal controversy. Critics said Manafort could see Giuliani's comments as a signal that Trump will continue to resist cooperation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who brought the charges.

Mueller's investigation has led to criminal charges against 32 people, including 25 Russians, as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, whether Trump or anyone else committed obstruction of justice and other crimes.

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Manafort is the first defendant from that investigation to go on trial, first in Alexandria, Va., and then in Washington. The dozen charges center on his work as an adviser to the Russian-backed government in Ukraine, but the conspiracy continued through the Trump campaign, prosecutors allege.

Giuliani first raised the prospect of a presidential pardon the day U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is hearing the Washington case, revoked Manafort's $10 million bail for what prosecutors said was witness tampering, and ordered him to jail until his trial.

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"When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons," Giuliani told the New York Daily News on June 15.

Giuliani elaborated on TV shows June 17, saying Trump's criteria for issuing a pardon would be whether a defendant had been "treated unfairly." Two days earlier, Trump had called Manafort's jailing "very unfair."


Giuliani told...
(Excerpt) Read more at: MSN
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