Prosecutors file new charges against Paul Manafort, signaling a plea deal

Paul Manafort

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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. The charges were filed in a criminal information, a document that suggests a deal has been reached.

Details of the deal were likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in federal court.

According to the court documents cited by USA media, Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 election. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

The case was brought by Mueller's team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.

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Manafort has aggressively fought the charges against him and taken shots at his co-defendant, Rick Gates, who cut a deal with prosecutors earlier this year that included a cooperation agreement.

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.

Manafort, 69, earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for foreign governments and spent that money freely, including on a $15,000 ostrich coat, landscaping and real estate.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time. The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said.

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.

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