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Manafort expected to plead guilty before new trial

14 September, 2018, 18:18 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Paul Manafort looks on as Donald Trump appears at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. A superseding crim

In a dramatic reversal, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is poised to plead guilty Friday morning to federal criminal charges arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

The investigation looked at such interactions "before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications", prosecutors wrote.

Manafort, 69, was convicted last month of bank and tax fraud after a trial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning.

His DC trial was set to begin September 24.

The jury in the Virginia trial had found Manafort guilty on eight of the counts brought by Mueller, while dead-locking on 10 others.

President Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

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

His decision to plead guilty, indicated in a court filing on Friday, came just days before jury selection was set to begin September 17 in Washington, where Mueller accused him of conspiring to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Ukraine and obstructing justice.

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. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work". Court papers indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19 1/2 years in prison under federal guidelines.

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation. "Nothing to do with Russian Federation collusion".

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty".

The details of the plea deal ― including whether it indicates that Manafort has to cooperate with Mueller's team ― are not yet available. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.

Prosecutors "applied tremendous pressure on him and. he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal, ' " the president tweeted last month.

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