Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Sep 14, 2018, 19:12
Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Paul Manafort signaled on Friday that he intends to plead guilty ahead of a second trial as prosecutors filed new charging documents against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters that a guilty plea would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

Paul Manafort arrived for a hearing at District Court in Washington, D.C. He will not go on trial after all after having reached a plea agreement with the Justice Department. Previously, he was facing those charges, plus five others, including obstruction of justice, providing false statements, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

So far, lawmakers have not released the details of the agreement, and added that it is unclear if Manafort will cooperate with prosecutors.

The trial included testimony for the prosecution from Manafort's longtime aide, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities and agreed to co-operate with the special counsel probe.

The charges in the information say that Manafort will have to forfeit property that was derived from or traceable to his offenses.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing, in Washington, DC, May 23, 2018. He is also admitting guilt to 10 bank and tax fraud charges that a jury could not reach a consensus on in his August trial in Virginia, though he will not be charged on those counts as part of the plea agreement. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the USA for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

Another approach for Manafort would be to plead guilty without cooperating and perhaps later receive a presidential pardon. Yet, Jackson said the request appeared to relate more to concerns about the political affiliation of Washington residents, rather than a unique amount of pretrial publicity.

If Manafort decides to cooperate with Mueller's probe, that would deal a setback to Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6.

Manafort's Virginia trial generated considerable attention from the public and the media.

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