Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty in Mueller probe

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort

The plea agreement requires him to cooperate completely with the government, which includes giving interviews without his attorney present and testifying before any grand juries or at any trials.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman, will plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge that accused him of money laundering, tax fraud, and lying to investigators after a new document was filed in federal court, according to NBC News.

On the other hand, if he cooperates "fully and truthfully" with Mueller but does not implicate the President, he will nearly surely receive a presidential pardon. He was found guilty last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.

Instead Manafort entered the plea.

In pleading guilty, Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, would admit he broke the law - a concession he refused to make throughout his Alexandria trial and since he was charged almost a year ago in Washington.

"It is totally unrelated", said Sarah Sanders said, White House spokesperson.

The deal allows Manafort to avoid a second trial that had been scheduled to start next week in Washington.

A guilty plea helps Manafort avoid the possibility of additional prison time in the event that the Washington jury were to have convicted him.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign chairman Paul Manafort looks on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. Previously, he was facing those charges, plus five others, including obstruction of justice, providing false statements, conspiracy to launder money, and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. "Manafort for example could implicate not only the president in the Trump Tower meeting - but also others who were involved such as Don Jr. or [Jared] Kushner", former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen told conservative writer Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post.

The Impact Of Hurricane Florence
Meteorologists are also keeping an eye on yet another tropical disturbance that's spinning in the western Gulf of Mexico. This general motion is forecast to continue today with a decrease in forward speed as it gets over the Caribbean Sea.

Prosecutor Alexander Weissman called the settlement a "cooperation agreement" and said it now depends on Manafort's "successful cooperation". He did not elaborate on the agreement.

"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty". Kilimnik has not appeared in court, though Manafort's plea Friday admits that he committed his crimes in conspiracy with both Gates and Kilimnik.

A plea deal was light at the end of the tunnel for Manafort - and on Friday that was the direction he chose to travel.

Manafort also agreed not to appeal any trial or pre-trial issues in his Eastern District of Virginia conviction, and "abandons any interest he has in all forfeitable property and consents to any disposition of the property by the government without further notice" - to the tune of $46 million, something any presidential pardon could not retrieve.

Earlier Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding criminal information document, which presages a plea deal.

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

In court on Friday, Manafort stood stock still before the judge, answering her questions with single words in a low tone, or sat at the defence table.

Mr Trump went so far as to suggest in a television interview that plea deals with prosecutors "should nearly be illegal".

The charges do not relate to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and jurors are expected to only hear limited references to Manafort's role in the campaign. "It shows you've admitted your guilt", he said before a deal was announced. The network cited three unidentified sources with knowledge of the deal.

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