Manafort to plead guilty

Manafort to plead guilty

In a dramatic reversal, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is poised to plead guilty Friday morning to federal criminal charges arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

Prosecutors in the DC case against Manafort filed a Superseding Criminal Information on Friday morning in the Washington D.C. case, charging Manafort with a single count of conspiracy against the United States and a single count of conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering.

Court filings show that Manafort has agreed to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. 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.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6.

It remains unclear whether Manafort will agree to cooperate with prosecutors as part of the plea agreement. The remaining five charges against Manafort will be dropped.

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Manafort was facing seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering in a trial set to begin later this month.

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.

The decision by Trump's onetime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to plead guilty last month in a federal investigation in Manhattan particularly angered the president, who denounced him as a "flipper".

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. The president has previously signaled he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and his attorney Rudy Giuliani told Politico a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

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. Usually it helps you get a pardon down the road.

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