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Paul Manafort to plead guilty to federal charges in deal with Mueller team

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Paul Manafort to plead guilty to federal charges in deal with Mueller team

WASHINGTON – Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a plea deal with prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller, and is expected to plead guilty to federal charges on Friday morning.

The deal will enable Manafort, who was convicted of tax and bank fraud charges by a federal court jury in Virginia, to avoid a second trial. The lobbyist and longtime former political operative is scheduled for an arraignment at 11 a.m. in federal court in Washington where he is expected to enter his plea, prosecutors announced.

It is not clear if the agreement will include a requirement to cooperate in the ongoing inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Prosecutors working for Mueller earlier filed a new set of charges against Manafort in which they accused him of conspiring against the United States when he worked as an unregistered agent of a pro-Russian political faction in Ukraine, and of conspiring to obstruct justice by seeking to persuade two people who had helped with that work to offer inaccurate accounts to federal investigators. 

Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, declined comment as she awaited the hearing.

She has been a constant presence at her husband’s court hearings and attended every day of testimony at Manafort’s trial last month in Virginia.

See Manafort filing below:

The Virginia trial featured volumes of documents and witnesses, including former Manafort business partner Rick Gates. The partner’s testimony and evidence were used to show how Manafort shielded millions of dollars from U.S. tax authorities through a network of foreign bank accounts that were later tapped to support an extravagant lifestyle in the U.S.

Manafort and Gates, prosecutors alleged, went to extraordinary lengths to protect tens of millions of dollars they earned from a longtime political consulting enterprise in Ukraine in support of former president Viktor Yanukovych.

In the D.C. case, in addition to the financial fraud charges, prosecutors also were poised to offer evidence that Manafort and business associate Konstantin Kilimnik sought to obstruct the Mueller investigation. The government claimed that Manafort and Kilimnik, who has been linked to the Russian intelligence service, attempted to block the testimony of at least two witnesses in the ongoing probe.  

Contributing: William Cummings, USA TODAY

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