Paul Manafort plans to plead guilty to second set of charges

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. A status hearing was scheduled Friday for Manafort amid reports that he was nearing a plea deal

Prosecutors have filed new charging documents against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, signaling he may plead guilty ahead of a second trial next week.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning (local time).

It was unclear whether such an agreement would include his cooperation in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling during Trump's 2016 campaign. So far, Manafort has refused to turn on his former boss - unlike other Trump administration figures - and there has been speculation that he is waiting on a pardon from the president at some later date.

The president has signalled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon. Manafort and Mueller had also been in plea talks while the jury was in deliberations during his Virginia trial, but those negotiations had fallen through.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort", Trump told reporters after a federal jury found Manafort guilty on eight counts of federal tax and banking crimes in August.


On Thursday, ABC News reported that Manafort's legal team had reached a tentative deal with Mueller's team after an hours-long meeting at the special counsel's downtown Washington, DC, offices.

Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. But Manafort has not been charged with anything related to the campaign.

In the Washington case, prosecutors were set to lay out in great detail Manafort's political consulting and lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

Earlier this year, Manafort derided Gates, his former business partner, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against his former partner.

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.

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