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Former Trump manager Manafort to plead guilty in Mueller probe: court documents

Former Trump manager Manafort to plead guilty in Mueller probe: court documents

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort appears to have reached a plea agreement with Robert Mueller, the special counsel's office signaled Friday.

Court filings show that Manafort has agreed to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

The investigation looked at such interactions "before and during the campaign to plumb motives and opportunities to coordinate and to expose possible channels for surreptitious communications", prosecutors wrote.

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.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6.

However, none of the charges relate to collusion with Russian Federation in the election.

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.

By entering a guilty plea, Manafort could also avoid millions of dollars in potential legal fees.

In the Washington case, prosecutors were set to lay out in great detail Manafort's political consulting and lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying. In the D.C. case, Manafort was facing a judge less sympathetic than the judge who presided over the Virginia trial, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis. Trump has raised the idea of a pardon for Manafort with White House aides and others, a source told NPR. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well. The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial. Court papers filed in the case indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19 and-a-half years in prison under federal guidelines.

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