After being pursued, raided in his home in the middle of the night, indicted, jailed and slapped into solitary confinement before he was even convicted, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort struck a plea deal to avoid a second trial. He agreed to plead guilty to avoid a second trial on charges of foreign lobbying violations in his dealings with Ukraine and witness tampering. He could get up to 10 years in prison and has to forfeit some bank accounts and properties, but he’ll get to keep properties in Florida and Virginia, where his family lives. His attorney said Manafort “wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”
The deal also includes agreeing to “full cooperation” with the Mueller investigation, but Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani says they’re not concerned because, again, these charges have nothing to do with Trump’s campaign or Russian collusion – which, if you can remember back that far, is what Mueller was supposed to be investigating.
Is this plea deal really a case of justice being served against a particularly bad actor, or of a rogue prosecutor granted far too much power and leeway being allowed to hound a target for things a lot of people do until he cracks and pleads guilty just to make it stop? I guess the only way to know would be to appoint a brigade of similar prosecutors, each with bottomless resources, no investigative limits and the power to raid houses, businesses and even attorney’s records and hold people in solitary who’ve not even been convicted of anything, and turn them loose on every well-heeled lobbyist in Washington. I’ll bet that thought would terrify a lot of never-Trump DC dwellers into changing their tunes on a Ukrainian dime.
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