Paul Manafort to plead guilty to two charges

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI  AFP

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has copped a plea deal with federal prosecutors, nixing his trial later this month, according to a report Friday.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in the federal court.

Prosecutors filed new criminal charges against Manafort Friday morning, alleging conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The allegations do not involve his work with the Trump campaign.

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However, the deal could involve Manafort's cooperation with Mr Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Manafort was facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering in a trial set to begin later this month.

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 election.

Paul Manafort (centre) is heckled as he walks into court.

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A juror in the Virginia case said she discounted testimony from Gates but found the documents that prosecutors introduced to be "overwhelming" in favor of conviction.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. The jury could not reach a verdict on 10 other counts.

The punishment that Manafort may receive related to his D.C. case, and any cooperation he may have offered the government, weren't immediately clear.

Manafort was accused of concealing from the IRS tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from his Ukrainian patrons and conspiring to launder that money through offshore accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere. Manafort would be the fifth Trump aide to plead guilty in connection to the special counsel's probe. Yanukovych was ousted from the country in 2014, and Manafort's consulting work in Ukraine dried up, according to evidence presented by the prosecutors in the Virginia trial.

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