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Here’s Why Paul Manafort Probably Can’t Flip on Trump


Paul Manafort unredacted warrants denied

Is former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s problem really that he has no dirt? At least one source familiar with his legal predicament told Politico Manafort has no bargaining power and no way of really cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation. In other words, there’s no way for Manafort to “flip” on President Donald Trump.

In case you missed it, Mueller filed a superseding indictment against Manafort in D.C. on Friday, adding charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice and adding a new co-defendant in Konstantin Kilimnik. He allegedly worked for Davis Manafort Partners International with Manafort and Rick Gates.

Though there has been some speculation that Manafort might flip on Trump, Politico cited one unnamed source familiar with the case who described the new indictment as particularly “brutal” for Manafort because he has nothing to trade. It’s especially brutal because Mueller is already moving to get Manafort’s pre-trial release conditions reevaluated.

“Paul’s problem is he doesn’t actually have anything to trade. Cooperating isn’t an option because he really didn’t collude with the Russians at the Trump campaign’s request,” the source said.

As mentioned, this comes on the heels of Mueller‘s prosecutors accusing Manafort of trying to tamper with a witness and calling for pre-trial release to be revoked or revised. Arguing against that adjustment just got tougher for Manafort’s attorneys given the new indictment.

Former independent counsel Robert Ray also told Politico the “heat is being turned up on Paul Manafort.”

The previous filing alleged that Manafort attempted to tamper with at least one witness by trying influence or “coach” a story on lobbying methods and practices.

As Law&Crime previously reported, Mueller’s prosecutors were upfront with Manafort at the start that they planned to indict him, an apparent tactic to shock him into “flipping” or airing dirty laundry.

“[T]he tactic that Mueller is using–telling Manafort that he will be charged–is generally used when prosecutors are trying to get a defendant to ‘flip.’ This strongly suggests what we’ve long expected–that Mueller is trying to ‘flip’ Manafort,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said at the time.

Manafort was indicted in D.C. back in October 2017 for financial fraud and violating lobbying disclosure laws.

Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report. 

[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.