Manafort agrees to plead guilty after deal with special counsel

Manafort agrees to plead guilty after deal with special counsel

Manafort agrees to plead guilty after deal with special counsel

Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA election. He is also admitting guilt to 10 bank and tax fraud charges that a jury could not reach a consensus on in his August trial in Virginia, though he will not be charged on those counts as part of the plea agreement. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians and the Russians have denied interfering.

Trump last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2018.

Manafort has already been convicted of financial fraud in Virginia.

The charges in his second trial were set to include money laundering, conspiring to defraud the U.S., witness tampering and failing to register as a foreign agent. Prosecutors said he used that untaxed income to support a lavish lifestyle. At that trial, Gates, who is cooperating in Mueller's probe, testified against him in dramatic form.

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Clad in a dark suit and purple tie, the 69-year-old told Judge Amy Berman Jackson "I understand" when she advised him of the rights he was giving up - including the right to appeal - by pleading guilty.

This comes ten days before Manafort's trial was set to begin.

If Manafort were to cooperate with Mueller, that could provide investigators new evidence or leads to chase; a guilty plea, however, would prevent weeks worth of headlines about the trial in the month before congressional elections. Prosecutors said they had to examine whether Russia-backed politicians and oligarchs served as a back channel to Russian Federation in the campaign.

The details of Manafort's cooperation with government prosecutors is not yet clear. He volunteered that year to work for free on the Trump campaign, shepherding the candidate through the Republican National Convention before being pushed aside as questions about his influence-peddling emerged.

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