Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

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

It is not clear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require Manafort to co-operate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

In August Manafort was found guilty of bank and tax fraud in a trial that lasted more than two weeks.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the justice department probe into alleged Russian election meddling.

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The charges are related to Manafort's Ukrainian political consulting work.

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.

In the trial scheduled in Washington, Manafort faces charges of conspiring against the United States, money laundering, failing to register as a lobbyist, making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice by trying to influence witnesses. Jury selection was due to start on Monday. Manafort's decision could be mixed news for Trump, who tapped the consultant to serve as his campaign chairman in June 2016 as he was securing the GOP presidential nomination.

He said that, should the deal include Manafort's cooperation with Mr Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, it could be bad news for the United States president.

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The details of the plea deal ― including whether it indicates that Manafort has to cooperate with Mueller's team ― are not yet available.

By entering a guilty plea, Manafort could also avoid millions of dollars in potential legal fees. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.

President Donald Trump with Paul Manafort (far right) and Rick Gates (centre). Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the US for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

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Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

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