Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

  • Paul Manafort Reaches Plea Deal With Special Counsel Robert Mueller

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.

In addition to the witness tampering counts, Manafort had been 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.

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.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon.

It is not clear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require him to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

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.

He faced a second trial in Washington, DC, on seven more counts related to lobbying work he did for Ukraine and witness tampering. The recent revelation by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that Trump and Manafort had entered into a joint defense agreement further suggested that the legal and political fate of the President was inextricably tied to Manafort, the once high flying GOP operative who made millions representing the pro-Russia regime in Ukraine.

"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. 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.

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

Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia.