Paul Manafort in court today as plea deal is expected on eve of 2nd trial
Paul Manafort signalled Friday he intends to plead guilty ahead of a second trial in the U.S. as prosecutors filed new charging documents against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
The charges in Friday's filing were contained in criminal information, a type of charging document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent, and typically signals a deal has been reached. The charges include conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Manafort is expected to appear in a U.S. district courtroom in Washington, D.C., later Friday morning.
It is not clear whether any agreement with prosecutors would require Manafort to co-operate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into possible co-ordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Manafort was facing a second trial set to begin on Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.
Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election. Jurors were deadlocked on the other 10 counts.
The trial included testimony for the prosecution from Manafort's longtime aide, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities and agreed to co-operate with the special counsel probe.
Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and was elevated to chair in May. He left the campaign in August that year — days after the New York Times reported a Ukraine investigation had uncovered $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments involving Manafort from 2007 to 2012. The money, the newspaper reported, came from the pro-Russian party of Viktor Yanukovych, the onetime Ukraine president.
At a rally in August, Trump said: "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. It has nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with Russia collusion."
Asked by reporters at the White House if he would consider a pardon if Manafort is convicted, Trump said last month: "I don't talk about that."
With files from CBC News