I confess I was a bit perplexed by the news that Paul Manafort had entered into a plea negotiation with the government. That in itself didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is that, at least based on the reports, cooperation is not part of the negotiation. The deal would simply be that in exchange for pleading guilty and admitting to key facts he would get some reduction of sentence, avoid the expense of a trial and perhaps avoid surrendering some property. That’s the standard plea deal, which for better or worse much of our criminal justice system is based on.
But Paul Manafort’s is far from a standard case.