Even though he’s already been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy against the United States and money laundering, it now appears that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be charging former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with even more crimes.
According to The Daily Beast, Mueller is seeking what is known as a “superseding indictment,” as Daily Beast writer Betsy Woodruff explained on MSNBC Tuesday evening:
“Having had conversations with numerous former Justice Department officials and legal experts over the last few days…folks expect for Mueller to hand down what’s called a superseding indictment. It’s when a prosecutor like Bob Mueller essentially says, ‘here’s a new indictment that includes everything from the previous one, but also tacks on some additional charges’ additional detail, additional problems for the person who’s being charged.”
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) December 27, 2017
The reason for the additional indictment is simple: To increase the pressure on Manafort and others who may be under investigation by the special counsel, as Woodruff told host Chris Hayes:
“The reason all these folks are telling me this is because in the initial Manafort indictment, there was a lot of detail that didn’t actually amplify or support the specific charges, particularly on tax questions. There was a lot of detail about dicey financial dealings that Manafort and Rick
Gates were involved in, about questionable absences of financial information on tax forms, that indicates Mueller might have enough evidence to bring additional charges against Manafort.
“That could put more pressure not just on Manafort, but also on Rick Gates, who my sources believe has the biggest potential to be additional cooperating witness to Mueller.”
Gates is Manafort’s former business partner and was indicted on the same day as Manafort.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who also worked as a federal prosecutor, said the new indictments might also target previously unnamed individuals:
“There was much in the narrative of the indictment that referenced crimes not charged. Prosecutors will often issue a superseding indictment as the grand jury continues its work. There’s also a tactical reason for this, that superseding indictments tend to grind defendants a bit more over time.
“The Manafort and Gates indictment left a number of torpedoes in the water. We’re just waiting to see who they hit.”
One of those who might be hit: None other than Donald J. Trump himself.
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