WASHINGTON — Indian American former top U.S. federal prosecutor in Manhattan, N.Y., Preet Bharara has said that President Donald Trump's ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort may "flip" and spill more damning information on the president's other political associates to get a favorable plea deal.
Manafort, 68, was charged Oct. 30 with conspiracy against the U.S. and money laundering, marking the first criminal allegations in a special counsel probe into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election won by Trump.
The indictment is part of the investigations being done by former FBI chief Robert Mueller, who has been appointed by the Department of Justice as a special counsel to probe into the allegations of Russian interference into the presidential elections and the connection with the Trump campaign, if any.
Bharara, 49, who was fired by Trump as attorney for the Southern District of New York after he refused to quit, told CNN that Mueller hit Manafort with so many charges, that he is likely to flip on the president to get a favorable plea deal.
“The first thing to remember is that Robert Mueller is a prosecutor's prosecutor. He is a professional, he's been doing this for a long time,” Bharara said.
Bharara said that he believes Manafort will provide damaging information on other political associates in exchange for a favorable plea deal, the Huffington Post reported.
“A consequence of that can be if there are other charges they want to bring against someone else. Maybe Paul Manafort will, in the parlance we use in law enforcement, 'flip,'” he said. “Sometimes that happens before a charge is brought like what looks like happened last week with George Papadopoulos,” Bharara, now a distinguished scholar in residence at New York University's School of Law, continued. “Investigators will make an approach, say 'we have good evidence against you,' and they probably did that with Papadopoulos and he said OK and cooperated.”
Asked if he thought there's a good chance Manafort will go to jail, Bharara said, “Look, I don't know all the evidence that the special counsel's office has, but they're pretty straight-forward charges that you can prove without many witnesses.”
It is not a lifetime in prison but it is a substantial prison sentence and “I expect that Manafort and his lawyers are talking about the idea of cooperating,” Bharara added.