Paul Manafort signals he intends to plead guilty before new trial

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

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

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed with federal prosecutors to plead guilty, NBC News reports.

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.

The plea deal is expected to be announced Friday morning, when Manafort is due in court. 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 is not clear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation, which has cast a shadow over Trump's presidency.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 election.

Unclear from the new criminal filing is what concession if any, Manafort made to yield this accommodation.

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

Paul Manafort arrived for a hearing at District Court in Washington, D.C. He will not go on trial after all after having reached a plea agreement with the Justice Department.

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.

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

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 joined the Trump campaign in late March of 2016, and ascended to chairman before leaving in August as revelations emerged about his previous consulting work in the Ukraine.

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