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The Manafort and Cohen Trial

Gelila Negesse, Reporter

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On August 21st, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, two men who were key aids to the Trump campaign and presidency, were on trial in which Cohen pleaded guilty on eight counts in a New York courtroom and Manafort was found guilty on eight counts in a Washington D.C courtroom.

Manafort and Cohen found themselves in trouble after the Mueller Probe began investigating close personnels in the 2016 election. Manafort’s eight counts included tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to disclose a foreign bank account. The judge declared a mistrial for a remaining 10 charges. Cohen’s eight counts included tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations.

Lawyer Peter Zeidenberg, who worked on the special counsel probe, said to Politico that Manafort may feel that “there’s a possible escape hatch.”

Manafort faces serious punishments and his lawyer Kevin Downing has said that his client is“evaluating all his options at this point.” However, many believe that Manafort maybe waiting for a pardon from President Donald Trump since he was a campaign chairman during the 2016 election.

According to  The New York Times, Cohen faces up to 65 years in prison, but his plea agreement allows for more lenient sentencing.

Unlike Manafort, Cohen pleaded guilty to all counts. Nonetheless, both Cohen and Manafort face heavy sentencing days in the next four months. Nonetheless, both are deeply connected with President Trump, who said the investigations are “rigged witch hunts.”

“When there is a link between him [President Trump] and someone who was possibly committing a crime at his behest,” said math teacher Craig Wilson, “it is obviously something that should be investigated.”

In his plea, Cohen said he committed the crimes solely to influence the election. Cohen paid two women to stay silent about their affair with, then, candidate Trump. Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said in several interviews that Cohen had information with value to Attorney Robert Mueller and that he and his client would be happy to share it which can potentially implicate the president.

Wilson believes that anyone with significant influence or power linked to a possible crime should be taken as a serious matter.

However, Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani said that you can’t indict a sitting president “No matter what it is.”

Since his verdict, Manafort pleaded guilty to two criminal counts. Cohen, next sentencing date is on December 12th.

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