Special Counsel Strategy: What happens after Manafort Indictment

Special Counsel Strategy: What happens after Manafort Indictment

ST. PETERSBURG —  Two men, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are under house arrest.

They were both released on bond after their federal court appearances and they'll be back in court Thursday.

The indictment from Robert Mueller's special council is full of legal jargon. We want to help break it down for you.

Here are the charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

Conspiracy against the United States.
Conspiracy to Launder Money.
Unregistered agent of a foreign principal.
False and misleading statements for the US Foreign Agents Registration Act.
False statements.
And seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Was President trump's tweet about Paul Manafort true?

We decided to verify his statement. 

He mentioned Manafort's indictment once on Twitter saying the allegations are from years ago. "Before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign."

The indictment alleges Manafort and Gates hid payments from 2006 through 2016.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March of 2016. He became campaign chair in May and left the campaign this past August.

So the claim is false.

We were able to verify that most but not all of the charges are based on alleged activity that would pre-date Manafort's time with the campaign.

Manafort and Gates were the first names to come out of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

But the third name - George Papadopoulos - and what we've learned about him, could reveal the most about the investigation.

Papadopoulos is an international energy lawyer.

He was part of the president's team of campaign advisors in 2016.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a conversation with a Russian professor who has close ties to the Russian government.

The case shows Papadopoulos tried several times to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and officials from the Russian government.

So what does today's announcement mean for the future of the Russia investigation?

Nightside reporter Mark Rivera sat down with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about Mueller's strategy:

RIVERA: We've got Mueller who just announce these charges, this indictment. What is his strategy right now what is he thinking what is he trying to do?
BJORN BRUNVAND, Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney: He's hoping to put enough pressure on Manafort for Manafort to come forward and ACKNOWLEDGE guilt and assist him in the investigation as it relates to others
RIVERA: Is that kind of standard procedure for prosecutors in a big case?

BRUNVAND: It is probably the most standard aspect of the federal prosecution.
RIVERA: So this is about hitting the pressure points. And the person he's hitting hardest right now is Paul Manafort. He's the guy that was just indicted.
BRUNVAND: Right and I think the idea is to send a strong message that you know, you can either join our team or the train is heading your way.
RIVERA: And the train is not one that you're on, you are on the tracks!
BRUNVAND: You are on the tracks. TSo the combination of the two. The indictment against Manafort, and the plea agreement for Papadopoulos might cause people to come forward with information because they'd rather come forward before the FBI comes knocking on the door at 10 after.
RIVERA: That's part of Mueller strategy?
BRUNVAND: Sure. With the analogy of the train coming your way, some people want to get on the train before is moving. So I think part of is he's hoping that that's going to happen.

The people are going to come forward and provide information for two reasons.

Wanting to tell the truth, but also because they are concerned that if they don't they might be facing a federal indictment.

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