Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has reached a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to avert a second trial on federal charges stemming from his lucrative work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record. He was convicted earlier this summer on eight out of 18 counts in a bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia federal court.
It was the first criminal trial arising from the justice department probe into alleged Russian election meddling.
The case was brought by Mueller's team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2018. Jury selection was due to start on Monday.
Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts - conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice - in a Washington, DC, courtroom, where prosecutors said the agreement with the longtime GOP operative includes his cooperation, according to CNN.
The plea deal would allow Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington. Manafort would be the fifth Trump aide to plead guilty in connection to the special counsel's probe.
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.
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The charges in the information say that Manafort will have to forfeit property that was derived from or traceable to his offenses.
It's unclear how the possible deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump.
Several media outlets reported that Manafort is close to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning.
And during his Virginia trial in August, Manafort's lawyers spent considerable time painting Mr Gates as a liar, embezzler, philanderer and turncoat who would say anything to get a lighter prison sentence. Kilimnik was charged alongside Manafort in June with conspiracy to obstruct justice, but is unlikely to see his day in court because he is Russian and therefore out of reach of USA prosecutors.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated. "Such respect for a fearless man!"