READ: Special Counsel Releases Manafort Statement Of Offense

Plea deal would allow Paul Manafort to avoid a second trial in Washington DC next week

Plea deal would allow Paul Manafort to avoid a second trial in Washington DC next week

We recently discovered just how angry Donald Trump was over the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations of Russian meddling.

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

Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation. Jury selection was due to start on Monday.

Another conviction would cap a dramatic fall for the worldwide power broker and confidant of Republican presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan.

Mueller has already secured cooperation from a former national security adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about discussing sanctions with a Russian ambassador, a campaign aide who broached the idea of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; and another aide who was indicted alongside Manafort but ultimately turned on him.

His apparent willingness to help Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, is certain to rattle the president, who had previously praised Manafort for not striking a deal last month during a previous fraud trial in Virginia.

In their filing, prosecutors describe Manafort's scheme to take in more than $60 million from pro-Russian Ukrainians and launder that money to avoid paying taxes.

Over a 40-year career, Manafort redefined and expanded Washington's influence industry domestically and internationally, parlaying successful campaigns into lobbying opportunities.

Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor in NY, says it's uncommon for criminal information to include that level of detail.

That includes Manafort's former deputy, Rick Gates, who testified against Manafort in Virginia. As part of his plea agreement, Manafort has admitted his guilt to the rest of the bank fraud counts in Virginia, and in return, the government will not retry the other counts in which a mistrial was declared.

Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges outlined in a superseding information filed Friday in Washington, D.C., federal court, report the New York Times and Politico.

Manafort was going to prison one way or another. He had been jailed since June as a result of the witness tampering charges. Now, by agreeing to the plea, he no longer faces the expense of another trial and the possibility of more prison time. Other counts were dropped.

It's unclear how a guilty plea might alter his ultimate sentence, and some lawyers have questioned whether he is focused on winning a reprieve elsewhere.

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

Manafort's agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to cooperate "fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly" could put to the test U.S. President Donald Trump's denials of campaign collusion with Russian Federation, lawyers not involved in the case said.

Manafort was even praised by Trump for letting the first trial go to court and not making any sort of deal, unlike Michael Cohen, who made one. But the court filing says Manafort admits to the actions. "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".

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