Ex Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Robert Mueller

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will plead guilty in federal court Friday as part of a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Fox News has learned.

The investigation looked at such interactions "before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications", prosecutors wrote.

Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

He faced a second trial in Washington, DC, on seven more counts related to lobbying work he did for Ukraine and witness tampering.

Kathleen Manafort, wife of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, arrives prior to a pre-trial hearing for Paul Manafort ahead of his upcoming trial on a range of charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2018.

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His DC trial was set to begin September 24. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts. The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said. 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.

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

Prosecutors with Mueller's office filed new criminal charges Friday in the case.

Another approach would be for him to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. The president has tried to distance himself from his former campaign chair.

Manafort's decision could be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. "Such respect for a courageous man!" Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

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