Manafort expected to plead guilty before new trial

Manafort expected to plead guilty before new trial

Manafort expected to plead guilty before new trial

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes at a hearing Friday morning, officials said.

Earlier Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding criminal information document, which presages a plea deal.

It's unclear how the possible deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 US presidential election.

In the new filing, prosecutors dropped the bulk of the charges against Manafort, filing new paperwork that includes just two counts that resemble in many ways the original allegations made in an indictment a year ago.

Reacting to Manafort's August conviction, President Trump described Manafort as a "good man", and once again labeled the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt".

Paul Manafort arrived for a hearing at District Court in Washington, D.C. He will not go on trial after all after having reached a plea agreement with the Justice Department. Either he has offered some form of cooperation, one source familiar with the case explained, or the government has concluded that it has hit him with a sufficient number of charges and following through with a second trial is not worth the time and expense.

Manafort's legal team and Mueller's prosecutors are scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. Friday before U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson for a pretrial conference in advance of jury selection set for next week, and a plea deal could be announced at that point.

The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Another approach for Manafort would be to plead guilty without cooperating and perhaps later receive a presidential pardon. The jury in Virginia found that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes, and then lied to get loans when the political party that was paying him was ousted from power and the funding dried up.

Writing on Twitter on August 22, Mr. Trump said, "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!"

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty". "Such respect for a courageous man!" Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

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