Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has reached a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to avert a second trial on federal charges stemming from his lucrative work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record.
As part of the deal, Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 US presidential election. Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
"Manafort agreed to plead to conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses". Trump's former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted financial crimes and is helping federal prosecutors in NY.
The special counsel's office also announced the scheduling of the arraignment and plea agreement hearing in the Manafort case.
He was facing a second trial Monday on charges related to Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.
Manafort had the option of rolling all the charges he faced into one trial, but chose not to. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.
If Manafort were to cooperate with Mueller, that could provide investigators new evidence or leads to chase; a guilty plea, however, would prevent weeks worth of headlines about the trial in the month before congressional elections.
Manafort had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. Manafort faces up to a decade in prison after the Virginia jury verdict, and a conviction in Washington could have increased his prison time.