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Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to plead guilty in Mueller deal: reports

Paul Manafort (Disney - ABC Television Group/Flickr)
September 14, 2018

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to plead guilty Friday to new charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, this ahead of his second trial slated to begin Sept. 24.

Court documents revealed Friday that he is expected to plead guilty in his new trial and has likely entered into a plea deal with Mueller, in order to avoid a second trial.

The details of the plea deal were not immediately known. Manafort was expected to appear in court Friday morning.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the document filed “shows that Manafort intends to plead guilty to two crimes of the seven he faced at trial: conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice.”

“The document indicates he will admit to funneling millions of dollars in payments into offshore accounts to conceal his income from the Internal Revenue Service,” the Post reported.

“Manafort cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes,” the document states, according to the Post.

Manafort, 69, surrendered this past October and was charged with money laundering and conspiracy against the United States.

A jury in August found him guilty of eight counts of federal tax and banking fraud.

The new charges include “seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering in federal court in Washington,” Fox News reported Friday.

Manafort’s charges, as well as those against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, were the first charges to come from Mueller and the U.S. Justice Department in the investigation into the alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 Presidential election.

The two were initially accused of conspiracy and money laundering.

President Trump has tweeted about Manafort, calling him a “brave man.”

He wrote in August, “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘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.”

Manafort has said in the past he would not cooperate with Mueller. The details of a plea deal remain to be disclosed.