Tag Archives: Manafort

Former Manafort deputy Rick Gates testifies against Greg Craig

Former Manafort deputy Rick Gates testifies against Greg CraigRick Gates was thrust into public view in August 2017 when he and Manafort were indicted in the first case publicly brought by Mueller’s office.



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Feds Charge Greg Craig, Former Obama Lawyer Tied to Manafort Ukraine Report

Feds Charge Greg Craig, Former Obama Lawyer Tied to Manafort Ukraine ReportMark Wilson/GettyFederal prosecutors have charged President Obama’s former White House counsel with making false statements in connection with his role in disseminating a report commissioned by Paul Manafort. Prosecutors allege that as an attorney in private practice, Greg Craig lied to officials at the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit after the Justice Department launched an investigation into Paul Manafort’s illegal lobbying on behalf of his pro-Russian clients in Ukraine. The charges, spurred by a referral from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, mark the first time the Russia investigation has led to a criminal complaint against a prominent former Democratic official. Craig was a partner at Skadden Arps in 2012 when Manafort arranged for the firm to write a report about his client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and the prosecution of Yanukovych’s former political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko. Skadden reached a settlement with the Justice Department in January 2019 over its work with the Ukrainian government. As part of the agreement, the firm admitted that “a partner then at Skadden made false and misleading statements to the FARA Unit, which led it to conclude in 2013 that the firm was not obligated to register under FARA.” Under the deal, Skadden Arps agreed to register as a foreign agent and pay $ 4.6 million to the U.S. Treasury—the cost of its work on the report.Prosecutors say Craig, who led a team of Skadden lawyers in writing the report, ventured into lobbying when he allegedly offered a copy of the report to a New York Times reporter, subsequently identified as David Sanger, and pitched him on a call with a lobbyist for Ukraine in advance of its release. Craig’s conversations with the Times reporter took place shortly after he met with Manafort and a public relations firm to discuss the media strategy for the report’s rollout, and prosecutors viewed his media calls as an outgrowth of the strategy meeting.The indictment alleges that Craig began lying to officials at the Justice Department's FARA unit when they inquired about his contacts with the media shortly after the Times story ran. In a meeting with the chief of the FARA unit and in a subsequent letter, prosecutors say, Craig falsely claimed that his conversations with reporters “was done in response to requests from the media” and that the Ukrainian government neither knew of it nor directed it.In particular, they claim that Craig failed to tell FARA officials he had “recommended and facilitated” the Ukrainian government's choice of a PR firm, had been briefed on the firm's strategy, and had recommended Sanger as a recipient for the report after he met with the PR firm and a lobbyist for Ukraine. The indictment quotes a handful of emails from Craig meant to back up claims that his media outreach was allegedly an extension of a Ukrainian government-directed PR strategy and not a responsive correction of the record.Craig allegedly emailed Sanger in December 2012 with the explanation that “the Ukrainians have determined that you should be given first look” at the report. In an email sent shortly after Craig handed an advance copy of the report to the Times, the lawyer reported to a PR firm working for Ukraine that he told Sanger “it was his if he wanted to use it” and that “tomorrow is not too late for [another U.S. reporter] or for [another major U.S. newspaper].”In discussions with prosecutors, Craig’s attorneys have doubled down on his claims about contacts with the media, according to CNN. They claim Craig only spoke with the Times in order to correct an unspecified mischaracterization of the report and that the prosecution represented an attempt to make the Russia investigation and its spin-off prosecutions, which have primarily targeted Republicans, seem less partisan. The Skadden report featured prominently in court documents filed in Manafort’s Washington, D.C., lobbying case. The special counsel’s office alleged that Manafort’s choice of “the lead attorney at Skadden was made with the United States lobbying effort in mind" and that the report Craig spearheaded was “misleading and used to justify the political prosecution and jailing of a political opponent.” Skadden earned $ 4.6 million for the report, paid through Manafort’s offshore accounts in Cyprus, but the Ukrainian government publicly claimed that the work cost only $ 12,000. Craig resigned from Skadden in April 2018, shortly after attorney Alexander Van Der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to the special counsel’s office about his work on the report. Van Der Zwaan, whom Skadden fired in 2017, destroyed emails requested by the special counsel and lied about talking points he passed to Manafort aide Rick Gates and an advance copy of the report he slipped to a public relations firm. He served a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s office.  Prosecutors said that the Skadden report was one part of a sprawling illegal lobbying campaign that enlisted other Washington heavyweights, Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group, to sell Washington on Yanukovych’s government. The special counsel’s office alleged that Manafort used an obscure think tank in Brussels as a cut-out to allow Mercury and the Podesta Group to lobby for the Ukrainian government without registering as foreign agents. Mercury subsequently registered with the Justice Department for its Ukraine work but the Podesta Group fared worse. Its founder, Tony Podesta, left the firm shortly after Mueller indicted Manafort in October 2017, and the firm closed seven months later. The charges against Craig are another sign that the Russia investigation has led to increased vigilance in enforcing foreign lobbying rules by the Justice Department. The department announced in March that Brandon Van Grack, a special counsel’s office prosecutor who worked on Manafort’s Virginia tax and bank fraud trial, would take over as the head of the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit. Read more at The Daily Beast.



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California Man Doesn’t Want Neighbors to Know He Lent Paul Manafort $1 Million

California Man Doesn’t Want Neighbors to Know He Lent Paul Manafort $  1 MillionThe lender is “a U.S. citizen residing in Southern California, where President Trump is highly unpopular,” according to the filing on Thursday in response to a request by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors. “It is well known that friendships and other relationships have shattered over political views in our current ‘tribal’ society,” and so the man doesn’t want his name made public, Woodlawn’s lawyer, David Smith, wrote.



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Did Paul Manafort outmaneuver Robert Mueller? His sentencing Wednesday will tell.

Did Paul Manafort outmaneuver Robert Mueller? His sentencing Wednesday will tell.Manafort avoided a trial that would have exposed his ties to criminal elements in Ukraine and positioned himself well for future mercy from Trump.



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Manafort Sentenced to Additional 43 Months, Bringing Total Prison Time to 7.5 Years

Manafort Sentenced to Additional 43 Months, Bringing Total Prison Time to 7.5 YearsPaul Manafort on Wednesday was sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison by a Washington, D.C. federal court in connection with the undisclosed lobbying work he did on behalf of a Ukrainian political party, just days after receiving a 47-month sentence in a separate case in Virginia.In delivering the sentence, Judge Amy Berman Jackson stipulated that, while the charges against Manafort did result from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, his guilt does not constitute evidence of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.“The question of whether there was any collusion with Russia . . . was not presented in this case, period, therefore it was not resolved by this case,” said Jackson.Jackson went on to refute the claim that Manafort was a victim who was cynically taken advantage of by politically motivated prosecutors, as has been alleged by many Trump allies.“The defendant isn't Public Enemy No. 1. But he's not a victim either,” she said, adding that it is “hard to overstate the number of lies, the amount of fraud and the extraordinary amount of money involved.”Manafort, who was sentenced in Virginia last week on bank- and tax-fraud charges, apologized for his actions and asked Jackson for leniency so he could care for his wife in their old age.“I am sorry for what I have done and for all the activities that have gotten us here today,” he said. “I stand here today to assure the court that I am a different person [from the one] who stood before you in October of 2017.”“I know it was my conduct that brought me here today. For these mistakes, I am remorseful. I will be 70 years old in a few weeks,” he continued. “My wife is 66. She needs me. I need her. I ask you to think of this and our need for each other. Please do not take us away from each other. Please let me and my wife be together.”Immediately following his sentencing in federal court, the Manhattan district attorney's office announced state fraud charges against him.



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Manafort sentence exemplifies privilege in the justice system: Readers sound off

Manafort sentence exemplifies privilege in the justice system: Readers sound off'What does Manafort's 47-month sentence say to people who are not wealthy in America?'



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Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, just sentenced to federal prison, faces new charges in N.Y. indictment

Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, just sentenced to federal prison, faces new charges in N.Y. indictmentState prosecutors in New York revealed new fraud and conspiracy charges Wednesday against Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.



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Manafort sentencing: Trump's former campaign manager gets 73 months in prison over fraud case

Manafort sentencing: Trump's former campaign manager gets 73 months in prison over fraud caseDonald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 73 months on two charges, including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice after he attempted to tamper with witnesses. Manafort’s total sentence in the two hearings he has faced in recent weeks amounts to 90 months — or seven years and six months — in prison. Manafort asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson for mercy on Wednesday, saying the criminal charges against him have “taken everything from me already.” He pleaded with the judge not to impose any additional prison time beyond the roughly four-year sentence he received in a separate case last week.



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Trump says 'I feel very badly' after Paul Manafort was sentenced to more prison time

Trump says 'I feel very badly' after Paul Manafort was sentenced to more prison timeThe president described it as a "very sad situation."



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The Judge Who Sentenced Paul Manafort Rebuked Him for 'Lies'

The Judge Who Sentenced Paul Manafort Rebuked Him for 'Lies'Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort 'it's hard to overstate the number of lies' involved



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