Manafort expected to plead guilty before new trial

Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen Manafort left arrives at federal court in Washington Friday Sept. 14 2018. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel’s offi

Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen Manafort left arrives at federal court in Washington Friday Sept. 14 2018. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel’s offi

The two revised charges are conspiracy to defraud the United States related to lying to investigators, money laundering and other financial crimes, and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to influence witnesses in his case.

The 69-year-old political consultant was convicted last month in Alexandria, Virginia federal court on charges of bank and tax fraud.

Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation.

The president has signalled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

The publication did not provide information on the $1 million question: whether the agreement requires Manafort to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

"If he's helping out Mueller, that's more bad news for Trump".

Prosecutors had filed new charging documents against Manafort.

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".

Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos jailed for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation
Papadopoulos had initially claimed this was before he joined the campaign, though he later confirmed it was once he was on staff. He was the first to plead guilty in Mueller's probe and is now the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced .

The planned plea, if accepted by a judge, would short-circuit his second trial scheduled to begin later this month in the District of Columbia on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations.

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning (local time).

Another approach for Manafort would be to plead guilty without cooperating and perhaps later receive a presidential pardon.

The charges are related to Manafort's Ukrainian political consulting work. A mistrial was declared on the remaining 10 charges after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Manafort agreed to plead to conspiracy against the USA and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses.

On Twitter on August 22, Trump wrote: "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal".

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