Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

In August, in a separate trial in Virginia, a federal jury found Manafort guilty on eight counts of federal tax and banking crimes.

It's the type of filing typically seen before a plea deal. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.

It's unclear whether Manafort will cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his ongoing probe into Russian meddling under terms of the plea agreement, Fox News reported.

"If he's helping out Mueller, that's more bad news for Trump".

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.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. 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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The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Manafort's attorneys had argued that the trial should be moved to Roanoke, Virginia, because the intensity of publicity in Washington made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

Manafort's legal team and Mueller's prosecutors are scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. Friday before U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson for a pretrial conference in advance of jury selection set for next week, and a plea deal could be announced at that point.

Just under a year ago, the 69-year-old veteran GOP operative was charged in Washington, D.C., with several counts of fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent by the special counsel. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work".

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.

Earlier this year, Manafort derided Gates, his former business partner, for striking a deal with prosecutors that provided him leniency in exchange for testimony against his former partner. But even so, the former Trump campaign manager was evidently ready to cut his losses.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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