Manafort expected to plead guilty, avoid new trial

Manafort expected to plead guilty, avoid new trial

Prosecutors have filed new charging documents against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, signaling he may plead guilty ahead of a second trial next week.

Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia.

The details of Manafort's plea were not immediately clear, including whether he would be providing any information to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of any deal.

The president has signalled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon. There were 18 counts altogether, but Ellis declared a mistrial on those charges when jurors couldn't reach an agreement on them-and that hung jury came about because of a lone juror.

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As part of his guilty plea agreement with special prosecutor Robert Mueller the former Trump campaign chairman will forfeit four of his homes: three in NY - including one in the Hamptons - and one in Virginia.

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Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, told Reuters that a guilty plea would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on August 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent.

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The plea deal would allow Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington. The remaining five charges against Manafort will be dropped.

Manafort is due to reappear in court Friday for pre-trial proceedings stemming from charges of money laundering for Russia-linked politicians. "In order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, MANAFORT, with the assistance of Gates and Kilimnik, laundered the money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships, and bank accounts".

The longtime lobbyist resigned from his position as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid increasing scrutiny of his work on behalf of a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

Writing on Twitter on August 22, Mr. Trump said, "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a courageous man!" Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well. "Such respect for a courageous man!"

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