Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Blanche Robertson
September 14, 2018

The judge in the trial of Paul Manafort scheduled an arraignment and plea agreement hearing Friday, signaling the former Trump campaign chairman has reached a deal with the special counsel's office.

Mueller filed superseding criminal information in U.S. District Court in Washington, an indication that Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of witness tampering.

Manafort's guilty plea would come with a detailed admission of wrongdoing, which could shed light on his interactions with oligarchs from Ukraine and Russian Federation. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out. There were 18 counts altogether, but Ellis declared a mistrial on those charges when jurors couldn't reach an agreement on them-and that hung jury came about because of a lone juror.

Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation. Trump has raised the idea of a pardon for Manafort with White House aides and others, a source told NPR.

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

The longtime lobbyist resigned from his position as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid increasing scrutiny of his work on behalf of a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

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Mr Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning.

Just under a year ago, the 69-year-old veteran GOP operative was charged in Washington, D.C., with several counts of fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent by the special counsel.

The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously - but unsuccessfully - against Mueller's probe. "Nothing to do with Russian Federation collusion".

The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The remaining five charges against Manafort will be dropped.

"I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence", Manafort said in February.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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