Paul Manafort plans to plead guilty to second set of charges

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has copped a plea deal with federal prosecutors, nixing his trial later this month, according to a report Friday.

A pre-trial conference scheduled in federal court in Washington, D.C., for 11 a.m. ET Friday was just changed on the Manafort case docket to an arraignment and plea agreement hearing, the most concrete confirmation of a plea agreement, after days of speculation and reporting based on unnamed sources.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in late March of 2016, and ascended to chairman before leaving in August as revelations emerged about his previous consulting work in the Ukraine.

Manafort's deal means that jurors and the public may not hear some details about Manafort's activities on behalf of the pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine and his ties, financial and otherwise, to oligarchs in the region.

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. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

Prosecutors, who made a point of noting the activity occurred "at least through 2016", used bank records and other documents to show what they say Manafort did to hide evidence of his work for Ukrainian politicians, hide millions in proceeds in offshore accounts, and then spend the money lavishly on clothing, luxury items, homes and cars.

Behind bars in the Alexandria, Va., detention center, Manafort's dark hair has sprouted patches of gray.

It's the type of filing typically seen before a plea deal.

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. The discovery of his witness contacts led to a superseding indictment in June and Manafort's jailing ahead of his trial.

The new court filing indicates that prosecutors have taken a number of the earlier charges against Manafort, including a money laundering charge that could, on its own, bring a 20-year sentence, and folded them into two charges that would each yield five-year sentences.

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