We live in interesting times …
Today’s brief will not be about the ever-growing list of federal indictments and criminal guilty pleas encountered thus far in the Trump-Russia special counsel proceedings.
Instead, we find ourselves seeing guilty verdicts and plea deals entered in relation to a slew of serious, tangentially related criminal complaints that have come as a byproduct of those investigations. Think of them, collectively, as the ultimate example of “follow the money.”
In court today, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of the eighteen offenses he had been charged with, the jury having been deadlocked on the remaining ten and a mistrial declared, for which prosecutors can potentially look at conducting a retrial of those latter charges.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts of his own in an effort to stave off the threat of a lengthy trial and potentially far more severe consequences for his wrongdoings.
In these proceedings, Cohen intends on pleading guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud, one count of making an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution.
Cohen further admitted to having paid out hush money at Trump’s direction (though not by name), an act that was apparently intended to influence the outcome of the election.
Evidence uncovered during the course of the Manafort and Cohen proceedings also suggests prosecutors might go after other individuals whose names have come up in the course of these corruption investigations, including Stephen Calk, the banker who provided the Manafort loans and who allegedly attempted to use his influence in a failed bid to secure a position with the Army.
Further updates will be posted as these stories continue to develop.