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Tag: special counsel

Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser Papadopoulos Considers Withdrawing Guilty Plea in Russia Probe

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is strongly considering withdrawing his guilty plea after special counsel prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence, according to his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos struck a deal with prosecutors last year, pleading guilty to misleading FBI agents during the Russian election meddling investigation. In exchange for his cooperation, Robert Mueller’s team was going to recommend leniency.

But a six-month jail sentence is not what he was expecting.

His wife told ABC that “he will make his final decision” Tuesday.

“He needs a serious conversation with his attorney.”

On Monday, Papadopoulos tweeted, “Been a hell of a year. Decision.”

Mueller’s prosecutors recommended jail time because they said Papadopoulos “caused damage” to the investigation by misleading investigators.

In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a professor, identified in news reports as Joseph Mifsud, who said he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Why the Manafort Jury Likely Hasn’t Reached a Verdict Yet

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the verdict in the Paul Manafort trial, it may feel like the jury has taken a long time.

But according to experts, juries typically take days – even more than a week – to reach a verdict on cases as complex as this one.

In the Manafort case, the jury began its third day of deliberations Monday. Manafort is charged with 18 counts, including bank fraud, conspiracy, filing false income tax returns and failure to report foreign or financial assets.

The news site Vox interviewed eight lawyers about the deliberations, and each said there’s nothing unusual about the jury take several days to reach a verdict.

“Probably means nothing,” Shira Scheindlin, a former United States district judge in the Southern District of New York, told Vox. “Most juries are very meticulous. Bank fraud and tax fraud are complex statutes and involve unfamiliar concepts. They are not in the everyday experience of jurors.”

Defense attorneys’ suggestion that “the length of the deliberations  is a good sign for them is pure spin,” said Michael Bromwich, former Justice Department inspector general. “Indeed, quick verdicts in complex cases are frequently for the defendant.”

Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said juries taking their jobs seriously and thus are methodical.

“The most likely thing it means is that they’re going through the charges, which are paper-driven and require confirmation methodically,” Litman said. “We know that’s happening, based on their questioning, and it’s the kind of the case that doing that would take three, four, five days anyway.”

Constitutional Law Expert: Enough Is Enough. Time to Subpoena President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his lawyers have stalled long enough, and the time has come to subpoena the president.

So says Harry Litman, a constructional law professor at the University of California at San Diego.

“Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president,” Litman argued in a column for the Washington Post

Litman said special counsel Robert Mueller has been “patient while Trump and his representative engaged in scarcely credible gamesmanship.”

Trump continues to call the special counsel investigation “a witch hunt” as he tries to chip away at the credibility of the FBI and Justice Department, an effort that appears to be paying off as most of the president’s most ardent supporters agree with his calculated remarks about federal law enforcement.

“It has become increasingly apparent that neither Trump nor anyone in his orbit has any interest in his answering Mueller’s questions,” Litman wrote. “In a word, they are playing Mueller, and in the process, playing the country.”

Judge in Manafort Trial Grants Request by Special Counsel to Not Disclose Conversation about Trump Case

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The special counsel’s team that is prosecuting Paul Manafort on fraud charges successfully urged a judge to keep secret details that could shed light on the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and whether it colluded with Russia to meddle in the election.

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, revealed on the stand Tuesday that he was cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors on Trump’s campaign.

Gates and Manafort played integral roles in the campaign.

The judge overseeing the case granted the prosecutors’ request to keep details of the conversations about Trump from becoming public.

“Disclosing the identified transcript portions would reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “The government’s interest in protecting the confidentiality of its ongoing investigations is compelling and justifies sealing the limited portion of the sidebar conference at issue here. In addition, sealing will minimize any risk of prejudice from the disclosure of new information relating to that ongoing investigation.”

Judge T.S. Ellis III wrote that he granted the request because the conversation would “reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing government investigation.”

Gates Testifies He Helped Manafort Violate Bank, Tax Fraud

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Paul Gates, a former campaign aide to President Trump, testified Monday that he helped his former business partner, Paul Manafort, commit bank and tax fraud.

At Manafort’s tax and bank fraud trial, Gates said he helped Manafort file false tax returns to conceal millions of dollars kept in foreign bank accounts.

Gates was testifying as part of a plea deal with special prosecutors, providing strong evidence against Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign.

If convicted, Manafort could spend the rest of his life behind bars on 18 counts of tax fraud and banking crimes.

Gates also testified that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort.

During his testimony, Gates told prosecutors he helped Manafort violate the law by falsifying and doctoring documents and concealing tens of millions of dollars in foreign banks to avoid pay taxes on the income.

Today, Gates is expected to face tough questions from defense attorneys who have been trying to chip away at his credibility.

Huge Implications for Special Counsel Mueller As Manafort Trial Begins Today

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The long-anticipated trial of Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, begins today in a courtroom in Alexandria.

Manafort faces 18 charges of bank and tax fraud, primarily related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine before he joined the Trump campaign.

If he’s found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The trial is the first to stem from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation that began in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

The implications are enormous for Mueller, who has come under constant attack by the president and his allies who are seeking to undermine the former FBI director’s credibility. Trump continues to call the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Jury selection begins today.

Follow Ticklethewire.com for daily coverage of the trial. 

Trump Claims Mueller Holds a Grudge, Calls Probe ‘Illegal Scam’

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued his tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller, suggesting again that the former FBI chief has “conflicts of interest,” citing a “very nasty and contentious business relationship.”

In a series of weekend tweets designed to erode the public’s confidence in the investigation over Russia meddling in the presidential election, Trump claimed Mueller also held a grudge because he was not appointed FBI director.

Sunday’s tweet was more specific than past claims of alleged conflicts of interest involving Mueller, who was appointed by the president’s own Justice Department after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Trump’s claim about a “contentious business relationship” appears to involve a dispute with Mueller over fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Virginia.

Here are additional tweets from Sunday:

Rudy Giuliani Calls FBI Agents and Special Prosecutors ‘Wackadoodles’

Rudolph Giuliani

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the past year, some people have questioned Rudy Giuliani’s sanity.

On Saturday, he was questioning the sanity of  the FBI agents and special prosecutors investigating President Trump, saying they should go to the psychiatric ward at Bellevue, The Hill reports.

“Instead of investigating President Trump, they should go to Bellevue,” Giuliani said.

He also called the investigators “wackadoodles.”

The former U.S. Attorney and mayor of New York made the comments in Staten Island while campaigning for Republican Rep. Dan Donovan, who has been endorsed by Trump.

Giuliani said the special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia is “made up of a bunch of distorted human beings who cried” when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016, the Hills reports.

“Ahhhhh we want Hillary,” Giuliani said of the FBI. “What’s going to happen? I need a psychiatrist.”

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