Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

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.

Manafort, in a trial set to begin September 24 in federal court in Washington, is facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering. The special counsel's office also announced the scheduling of the arraignment and plea agreement hearing in the Manafort case.

It's unclear which charges Manafort is pleading guilty to, and whether his deal means that he will actually cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Those two charges appear to be the basis for a plea agreement. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out. Manafort's decision could be mixed news for Trump, who tapped the consultant to serve as his campaign chairman in June 2016 as he was securing the GOP presidential nomination.

A Virginia jury convicted Manafort last month on bank and tax fraud charges.


Manafort is expected to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge that accused him of money laundering, tax fraud, and lying to investigators, according to a document filed in federal court.

The reported deal comes after a number of reports of their ongoing discussions in recent days.

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.

Several defendants have cooperated or pleaded guilty in connection with the special counsel probe, including Manafort's former right-hand man Rick Gates; former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort; W. Samuel Patten, who admitted arranging for a Ukrainian businessman to illegally donate to Trump's inauguration; and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who was sentenced to 14 days in jail last week after pleading guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the Washington case, prosecutors were set to lay out in great detail Manafort's political consulting and lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the pro-Russian Party of Regions. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

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