Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty in Mueller probe

Adjust Comment Print

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty to federal charges as part of a deal with the special counsel's office.

The charges in Friday's filing were contained information that typically signals a deal has been reached.

Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

He has yet to be sentenced in Virginia, where legal experts say he faces 8 to 10 years in prison under federal guidelines on the eight of 18 counts on which he was convicted.

So far, lawmakers have not released the details of the agreement, and added that it is unclear if Manafort will cooperate with prosecutors.

More from Bloomberg.com: The New York Race for Trump to Watch Tonight?

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. 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.

In pleading guilty, Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, would admit he broke the law - a concession he refused to make throughout his Alexandria trial and since he was charged almost a year ago in Washington.

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

And Mueller's team still had the option of retrying Manafort on those ten mistrial charges.

Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

Manafort agreed to plead to conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses.

Another approach for Manafort would be to plead guilty without cooperating and perhaps later receive a presidential pardon. He led the campaign in mid-2016 when Trump was selected as the Republican presidential nominee at the party convention.

The case was brought by Mueller's team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election. The remaining five charges against Manafort will be dropped. "Such respect for a fearless man!"