Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Ex-Trump campaign boss reaches plea deal

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse for a hearing Paul Manafort will plead guilty, forfeit many assets in special counsel probe
Leonard Rios | 14 September, 2018, 18:45

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has concluded a plea deal that will avert a trial in Washington, D.C., on charges related to his lobbying work in Ukraine and allegations of witness tampering in the case against him.

The charges were contained in a criminal information, which can only be filed with a defendant's consent and usually signals a deal has been agreed.

The 69-year-old political consultant was convicted last month in Alexandria, Virginia federal court on charges of bank and tax fraud.

It's unclear how the possible deal might affect Manafort's pursuit of a pardon from President Donald Trump. Law enforcement officials have come to suspect that Manafort hopes he will be pardoned by the president, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

In the new filing, prosecutors dropped the bulk of the charges against Manafort, filing new paperwork that includes just two counts that resemble in many ways the original allegations made in an indictment previous year.

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He said Trump has been "on the same wavelength" as congressional Republicans on taxes, regulations and court appointments. Fleischer said there are hundreds of people who "think they're "senior" officials".

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on August 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent.

The charges in the information say that Manafort will have to forfeit property that was derived from or traceable to his offenses.

Manafort is expected to appear in a USA district courtroom in Washington, D.C., later Friday morning.

By entering a guilty plea, Manafort could also avoid millions of dollars in potential legal fees. Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

Prosecutors "applied tremendous pressure on him and. he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal, ' " the president tweeted last month.

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