Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on Friday said former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort reaches "tentative" plea deal with Mueller: report Giuliani says possible Manafort plea deal not a concern Manafort seeks plea deal without special counsel cooperation: report MORE's guilty plea earlier that day was a "big win" for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE in his investigation.
Speaking at the hearing before U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson, Weissmann said the 17-page plea document included the terms of Manafort's expected cooperation.
Manafort had refused to cooperate with Mr Mueller even as the Virginia jury convicted him on bank and tax fraud charges. They worked together for the Washington DC lobbying and political consulting firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly and Roger Stone is believed to have played an integral role in Trump hiring Manafort to work on his campaign.
Manafort's decision could be mixed news for Trump, who tapped the consultant to serve as his campaign chairman in June 2016 as he was securing the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump last month praised his former campaign aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.
Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. In addition to the financial and lobbying charges against Manafort, the special counsel's team has said it's investigating allegations he colluded with Russian Federation while working for Trump.
Prosecutors will drop the five remaining charges in DC federal court against Manafort, including money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, violating federal foreign lobbying law and lying to the Department of Justice. "Manafort for example could implicate not only the president in the Trump Tower meeting - but also others who were involved such as Don Jr. or [Jared] Kushner", former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen told conservative writer Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post.
Manafort's case marked the first indictment in Mueller's investigation. "This is for conduct that dates back many years and everybody should remember that". His wife Katherine showed no emotion as he admitted his guilt. Mueller has also gotten guilty pleas from former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, while Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in a case referred to the Southern District of NY by Mueller's office.
That trial was supposed to start next week in Washington. "A pardon may take the case out of the federal criminal arena as it relates to a conviction and punishment, it does not however relieve one of the obligation to be a witness if he were subpoenaed to the grand jury or at trial". In February, the former campaign chairman called out his business partner, Rick Gates, for deciding to make a deal-which cut him some slack in exchange for testifying against Manafort.
At the time of Gates' plea, Manafort issued a statement saying he "had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence".
It's also unclear how any deal would affect Manafort's pursuit of an eventual pardon from Trump.