Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will plead guilty in federal court and forfeit many of his assets, according to a court filing Friday morning, signed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Manafort reached a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid his upcoming trial on charges related to his foreign lobbying work, CBS News reported Thursday.
The plea deal would allow Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington.
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.
"Between at least 2006 and 2015, MANAFORT conspired with Richard W. Gates (Gates), Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik), and others to act, and acted, as unregistered agents of a foreign government and political party", the criminal information reads.
The criminal information received reduced seven previous charges on money laundering, conspiracy, false statements and failure to register as a foreign agent.
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.
Mr. Manafort's decision could be a blow to Mr. Trump, who in August praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the President's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.
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The charges are related to Manafort's Ukrainian political consulting work.
It's unclear which charges Manafort is pleading guilty to.
Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia.
Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement".
Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation.
Manafort directed his lobbyists to "plant some stink" on Tyomoshenko by alleging in USA news stories that she paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official.
The jury could not come to a consensus on 10 counts, forcing the judge to rule a mistrial on those charges.
This comes ten days before Manafort's trial was set to begin. The three-week trial centered on income Manafort earned working as a political consultant for pro-Russian Ukraine.