Trump’s ex-campaign chairman to enter guilty plea

Washington: Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager embattled by criminal indictments, on Friday agreed to plead guilty in a deal to resolve charges filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, officials said.

Charges filed against him accuse him of a myriad of criminal acts related to his consulting work in Ukraine. He will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice due to attempts to tamper with witnesses, according to a court filing cited by CNN.

It was, however, not clear if he will cooperate with prosecutors against President Donald Trump.

If he does, Manafort could prove to be a significant witness for Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible collusion by members of Trump campaign with Moscow, CNBC said.

Trump was not mentioned in Friday’s filing, neither was Manafort’s role in his campaign.

Prosecutors will drop the five remaining charges against Manafort, including money laundering, tax fraud, failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, violating federal foreign lobbying law and lying to the Department of Justice. But the court filing suggested Manafort admitted to the actions.

Manafort had faced seven charges in Washington and faces another 10 possible charges in Virginia which had been declared in mistrial. He has already been convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud crimes in the Virginia trial.

The White House has distanced itself from Manafort and downplayed his time leading the Trump campaign. But but last month, Trump expressed sympathy for him.

“I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family,” the President tweeted the week of Manafort’s conviction in his Virginia trial.

“Justice’ took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!” Trump had said.

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

He appeared to admit to the allegations he faced in both Virginia federal court and DC district court, describing his use of offshore bank accounts to move the money, deceive his accountants and bookkeeper and then spend the money on lavish purchases and real estate, CNN said.

He also will admit to lying to banks about his assets to gain new loans as a way to supplement his income, according to the filing.

According to the charging document, Manafort will forfeit his home in the Hamptons section of New York’s Long Island, properties in New York City and property on Edgewood Street in Alexandria, Virginia,

In addition, Manafort will forfeit all of the money contained in four bank accounts and a life insurance policy.