Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy charges as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, told reporters it was a “tough day” for his client. “But he’s accepted responsibility. He wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”
“He has accepted responsibility. And this is for conduct that dates back many years,” Downing added.
Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing addressed reporters outside the courthouse: "Tough day for Mr. Manafort but he's accepted responsibility." Manafort will remain in jail while he cooperates with prosecutors. Story: https://t.co/NdNQQJz7I3 pic.twitter.com/S4ixv3snKd
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) September 14, 2018
Manafort was facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering in a trial set to begin later this month. The charges were related to consulting work on behalf of pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.
Ryan Goodman — the co-editor-in-chief of Just Security and a former special counsel for the Department of Defense — noted that observers had suspected that Manafort was slow to cooperate with Mueller because he feared retaliation from Russian operatives.
Important line from Manafort's attorney. Manafort “wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe.”
Many have speculated what worried Manafort most, and made him slow to cooperate, was Kremlin's practice of going after family members of people who turn against them. https://t.co/ApmjoGBQ4Y
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 14, 2018