Paul Manafort to Cooperate With Special Counsel in Possible Blow to Trump


Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has concluded a plea deal that will avert a trial in Washington, D.C., on charges related to his lobbying work in Ukraine and allegations of witness tampering in the case against him.

Friday's court filing said Manafort's homes in New York City, in the Hamptons and in Virginia, as well as money from his bank accounts and life insurance policies may be seized by the government as part of the deal.

The charges in Friday's filing were contained information that typically signals a deal has been reached.

Paul Manafort's wife Kathleen Manafort, left, arrives at federal court in Washington.

The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

It was not immediately clear whether the deal would require Manafort, 69, to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation, which has cast a shadow over Trump's presidency.

Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to.

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However, none of the charges relate to collusion with Russian Federation in the election.

One of the potential witnesses against Manafort was Sam Patten, who pleaded guilty on August 31 to failing to register as a Ukrainian agent. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissman said in court Friday that Manafort had struck a "cooperation agreement".

Jackson is allowing prosecutors to mention that Manafort was campaign chairman in August 2016 when press reports, including articles by The Associated Press, called attention to his lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the pro-Russian Party of Regions. It has no doubt occurred to Manafort that if he was convicted on eight counts in a trial that had less evidence and a sympathetic judge, he would be facing even more of an uphill climb in a trial with an unsympathetic judge and even more evidence.

Manafort's second trial would have been related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.

Manafort directed his lobbyists to "plant some stink" on Tyomoshenko by alleging in US news stories that she paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official. 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.