Jeffrey Yohai, an ex-son-in-law of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, secretly entered a guilty plea earlier this year to criminal charges of fraud in obtaining real estate loans, a source familiar with the matter told POLITICO on Thursday.
Manafort, who is facing a pair of criminal cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, invested with Yohai in real estate deals in New York and California.
Yohai’s plea deal with federal prosecutors based in Los Angeles requires cooperation with ongoing federal investigations such as Mueller’s, but there is no clear indication yet of the special prosecutor’s interest in his testimony, the source said. It was not immediately clear why the plea was taken in a closed courtroom, but that process is routine in some courts.
“I can only confirm that he has reached a plea agreement,” an attorney for Yohai, James Hinds, told BuzzFeed.
Contacted by POLITICO, Hinds said only: have nothing to add to the story posted today.”
An attorney who was defending Yohai in the matter last year, Aaron May, declined to comment on the reports and said he was no longer representing him.
One of the indictments Mueller’s office brought against Manafort alleges that he committed bank fraud by instructing an unidentified son-in-law in an email to pretend that he was living in a Manhattan apartment that was actually being regularly rented out.
That charge is part of a bank fraud and tax evasion case that Manafort is set to go to trial on in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 10. Manafort also faces a September trial in a separate case brought by Mueller. That indictment charges the longtime political consultant with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent.
Several real estate projects that Manafort and Yohai jointly invested in went bankrupt since 2016. At least one planned sale of such a property in Los Angeles has fallen through because the potential buyer was informed by Yohai that the property could be seized by the federal government, court records show.
The divorce between Yohai and Manafort’s daughter Jessica became final last year.
A spokesman for Manafort declined to comment on Yohai’s plea.