Manafort makes deal with Mueller to avoid another trial

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was expected to entry a guilty plea as part of an agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, fending off a second trial over his lobbying activity on behalf of foreign governments.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters on Friday that a guilty plea to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

Prosecutors filed new criminal charges against Manafort Friday morning, alleging conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Manafort's second trial would have been related to his Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. 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.

Paul Manafort (centre) is heckled as he walks into court.

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According to the court documents cited by USA media, Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

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.

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

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. The money, the newspaper reported, came from the pro-Russian party of Viktor Yanukovych, the onetime Ukraine president. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work".

The move toward a guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously - but unsuccessfully - against Mueller's probe. The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial.

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