Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

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In a dramatic reversal, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is poised to plead guilty Friday morning to federal criminal charges arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe. Trump's former fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted financial crimes and is helping federal prosecutors in NY.

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning (local time). "Nothing to do with Russian Federation collusion".

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in late March of 2016, and ascended to chairman before leaving in August as revelations emerged about his previous consulting work in the Ukraine.

Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.

The allegations do not involve his work with the Trump campaign.

Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Such filings typically indicate that a deal has been reached.

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The details of the plea deal ― including whether it indicates that Manafort has to cooperate with Mueller's team ― are not yet available.

Judge TS Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 other charges after the jury failed to reach a verdict. The remaining five charges against Manafort will be dropped.

Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation. The jury in Virginia found that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes, and then lied to get loans when the political party that was paying him was ousted from power and the funding dried up.

This, in turn, may endear him to President Trump, who has already called Manafort a "good man" who has been unfairly targeted by the Justice Department.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon. Court papers filed in the case indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19 and-a-half years in prison under federal guidelines.

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