Paul Manafort pleads guilty, avoid new trial

Paul Manafort to plead guilty as part of plea deal with special counsel

Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to two federal charges in a deal that includes cooperation with Mueller, who is investigating whether there was collusion between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSouth Carolina detention centers say it will not relocate inmates in mandatory evacuation zones Letitia James routs three Dems to win New York AG primary Trump slams Kerry for "illegal" meetings with Iran MORE's campaign and Moscow during the 2016 election.

The charges accuse him of a conspiracy involving money laundering, tax fraud, failure to report foreign bank accounts, violating rules requiring registration of foreign agents, lying and witness tampering while performing consulting work with a Ukrainian political party.

Manafort had refused to cooperate with Mr Mueller even as the Virginia jury convicted him on bank and tax fraud charges.

After the hearing, Manafort's attorney told reporters that his client accepted responsibility so that his family could stay safe and lead a good life.

She asked Manafort a series of questions - whether what the special counsel said was true and accurate, whether he did in fact conduct work on behalf of Ukraine, whether he conspired to tamper with witnesses, and whether he conspired to avoid USA tax laws.

The special counsel's office added a second potential cooperator against Manafort in late August when another lobbyist for the Ukrainians, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to a foreign lobbying charge.

Before Manafort's appearance, there was some discussion that he would plead guilty without cooperating and perhaps later receive a presidential pardon.

Westling agreed in court that the mistried counts in Virginia will be dropped with Manafort's admission of guilt to all his allegations.

The document also says Manafort "orchestrated a scheme to have, as he wrote in a contemporaneous communication, '[O] bama jews' put pressure on the administration to disavow Tymoshenko and support Yanukovych", the document said.

Manafort had aggressively fought the charges against him and taken shots at his co-defendant, Rick Gates, who cut a deal with prosecutors earlier this year that included a cooperation agreement.

As part of his deal, the government plans to seize four properties, including a almost $2 million house in Arlington, Virginia, owned by one of Manafort's daughters. "This is for conduct that dates back many years and everybody should remember that".

Both cases brought against Manafort by the special counsel stem from his work in Ukraine. He had another trial coming up this month, and this plea deal was his way of avoiding it. Manafort pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice for trying to influence the testimony of two witnesses.

"This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. We also asked Bill Thomas, another attorney and former federal prosecutor, about the effect of a possible pardon, and he said it wouldn't do anything to stop Manafort from testifying.

At the time of Gates' plea, Manafort issued a statement saying he "had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence". Jurors deadlocked on 10 other counts.

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