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Paul Manafort continued his crime spree last night by breaking legal Twitter.

Yes, we know that Rudy Giuliani has been saying for months that Trump had an ongoing Joint Defense Agreement with Manafort

We just assumed he was talking shit like always.


If the New York Times is right, then Manafort's lawyers have been spilling the beans to the president's lawyers on the Mueller investigation all along, including over the past two months, after Manafort (theoretically) flipped.

A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, repeatedly briefed President Trump's lawyers on his client's discussions with federal investigators after Mr. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, according to one of Mr. Trump's lawyers and two other people familiar with the conversations.

The arrangement was highly unusual and inflamed tensions with the special counsel's office when prosecutors discovered it after Mr. Manafort began cooperating two months ago, the people said. Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid by Mr. Manafort for a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in hopes of a lighter sentence.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president's personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on Tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insights into the special counsel's inquiry and where it was headed. Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Mr. Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations campaign against Mr. Mueller's office.

WHAT THE FUCK? A joint defense agreement (JDA) is definitionally between two or more defendants who have unified interests. It's a waiver of privilege between the parties to coordinate legal strategy. Once Manafort agreed to testify against Trump, they no longer had a common interest or defense. Depending on the circumstances, it was likely both inappropriate and unethical for Kevin Downing to have continued briefing the president's lawyers after his client agreed to cooperate with the Special Counsel.

YA THINK?

Mr. Downing did not respond to a request for comment. Though it was unclear how frequently he spoke to Mr. Trump's lawyers or how much he revealed, his updates helped reassure Mr. Trump's legal team that Mr. Manafort had not implicated the president in any possible wrongdoing.

Wow, the president must really appreciate the updates. Did the subject of a pardon ever come up in those little reassurance chats? Because we know that the president's old attorney John Dowd mentioned it to both Flynn and Manafort last summer. And conveying an offer to pardon someone in exchange for lying to the FBI might expose a person to charges of obstruction of justice and/or witness tampering. Which Kevin Downing, a seasoned attorney with a good reputation, would never do, right?

Too bad we'll never find out what Trump's lawyers discussed with Rudy'n'Jay. Or maybe we will! Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggests that the lack of a common interest between Trump and Manafort might void the privilege in their attorneys' conversations.

That would be a baller move. On the other hand, Mueller did force Manafort's old lawyer to testify against him, so ...

And, oh by the way, Giuliani claims that Trump has a JDA with 32 witnesses or subjects of the Mueller investigation including Jerome Corsi, who also just blew up his own plea agreement. Funny how witnesses whose attorneys are talking to the president keep deciding that helping out Robert Mueller is no fun and they just don't feel like doing it anymore, huh?

This whole thing reeks to high heaven, and we're guessing we haven't yet heard the end of it. Did we mention the lawyers are MAD?

Because they're really, really pissed. And presumably so is Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will be hosting Mr. Manafort in her courtroom on Friday morning at 9:30 to discuss the recent implosion of his plea agreement. This will get ugly.

[ NYT]

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