Paul Manafort expected to plead guilty, avoid second trial

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. A status hearing was scheduled Friday for Manafort amid reports that he was nearing a plea deal

In a dramatic reversal, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is poised to plead guilty Friday morning to federal criminal charges arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

The charges in Friday's filing were contained in a criminal information, a document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent and typically signals a deal has been reached.

In addition to the witness tampering counts, Manafort is 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.

As a potential witness to alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign, Manafort became an early and sustained focus of the Mueller probe.

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Not only because it seemed indifferent to Puerto Rican suffering, but also because it is demonstrably false. And I respect him. "If you are a United States citizen, you should be disgusted by this".

It's also unclear how any deal would affect Manafort's pursuit of an eventual pardon from Trump.

The details of the plea agreement, and whether Manafort would cooperate with prosecutors, were not immediately known.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort", Trump told reporters after a federal jury found Manafort guilty on eight counts of federal tax and banking crimes in August.

Most of the charges Mueller brought against him stemmed from that pre-2016 Ukraine work, however some of the bank fraud allegations in Virginia overlapped with Manafort's time on the campaign and after. The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial.

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

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