Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to 'plead guilty'

Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen Manafort left arrives at federal court in Washington Friday Sept. 14 2018. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel’s offi

Paul Manafort’s wife Kathleen Manafort left arrives at federal court in Washington Friday Sept. 14 2018. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel’s offi

In addition to the witness tampering counts, Manafort had been formally charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiring to launder money and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department about the nature of his work.

Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia.

Such filings typically indicate that a deal has been reached.

The jury convicted him of five counts of filing false income tax returns, one count of failing to file a report of a foreign bank account in 2012 and two counts of bank fraud.

People familiar with the plea discussions have previously said that Manafort has no intention of cooperating with Mueller, so it's possible any prospective agreement could allow him to admit guilt without providing information to investigators.

Manafort, 69, was a key figure in Mr Trump's inner circle, but the president has since sought to distance himself from his former adviser.

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Reacting to Manafort's August conviction, President Trump described Manafort as a "good man", and once again labeled the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt".

He said that, should the deal include Manafort's cooperation with Mr Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, it could be bad news for the United States president.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort stands in a court room sketch, on the opening day of his trial on charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in Alexandria, Va., on July 31, 2018. And it was Jackson (a Barack Obama appointee) who, earlier this year, removed Manafort's home detention status and ordered him jailed for tampering with witnesses.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. A mistrial was declared on the remaining 10 charges after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Trump last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. "And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities".

Writing on Twitter on August 22, Trump said, "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal".

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