Manafort agrees to plead guilty after deal with special counsel

Geneva Stokes
September 14, 2018

Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA election.

A superseding criminal information was filed against Manafort in Washington ahead of a scheduled court appearance later Friday morning.

He was convicted last month in a separate federal trial in Alexandria, Va., on eight charges of bank and tax fraud, also related to his work in Ukraine.

Such filings typically indicate that a deal has been reached.

It's unclear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"If he's helping out Mueller, that's more bad news for Trump".

Manafort has aggressively fought the charges against him and taken shots at his co-defendant, Rick Gates, who cut a deal with prosecutors earlier this year that included a cooperation agreement.

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The plea deal precludes the need for the second trial, sparing Manafort the steep legal fees of a second round of prosecution.

It was not immediately clear whether the deal would require Manafort, 69, to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

Manafort is due to reappear in court Friday for pre-trial proceedings stemming from charges of money laundering for Russia-linked politicians. But Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the campaign. The jury in Virginia found that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes, and then lied to get loans when the political party that was paying him was ousted from power and the funding dried up.

Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

Manafort is shown at the Republican convention in Cleveland behind Donald Trump on July 21, 2016. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

Judge TS Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 other charges after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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