Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was expected to entry a guilty plea as part of an agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, fending off a second trial over his lobbying activity on behalf of foreign governments.

Manafort was facing a second trial set to begin on Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.

The plea deal would allow Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington.

Earlier Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding criminal information document, which presages a plea deal. The high-profile lobbyist is expected to appear in court later Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST.

According to the court documents cited by U.S. media, Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. "In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT, with the assistance of Gates and Kilimnik, laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts".

A jury in Alexandria convicted Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud charges in late August, in what was widely viewed as a victory for Mueller's team and which represented the special counsel's first court test in the sprawling Russian Federation investigation.

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 US presidential election.

The case was brought by Mueller's team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election. Had that juror been persuaded on the ten mistrial charges, Manafort could have been convicted of 18 criminal counts in Alexandria instead of "only" eight.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement".

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on August 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts. He left the campaign in August that year - days after the New York Times reported a Ukraine investigation had uncovered $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments involving Manafort from 2007 to 2012.

Mueller, who is investigation for collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow, has already secured several Trump associates as cooperators, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Related news