Onetime Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort indicated in a court filing on Friday that he had reached a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in which he will plead guilty to two criminal counts, allowing him to avoid a trial that had been set to begin next week.
What is unclear is whether he will cooperate with prosecutors as they investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, and potential collusion by members of Trump's campaign.
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 USA election.
Manafort is due in federal court for what the Justice Department called "an arraignment and plea agreement hearing" on Friday morning, following the release of new charging documents against him.
His DC trial was set to begin September 24.
Judge TS Ellis declared a mistrial on 10 other charges after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
The D.C. trial that was averted by the new plea deal stood to pull back the curtain on the world of covert lobbying on behalf foreign powers in the nation's capital.
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The allegations do not involve his work with the Trump presidential campaign.
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.
Manafort was accused of concealing from the IRS tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from his Ukrainian patrons and conspiring to launder that money through offshore accounts in Cyprus and elsewhere.
"Manafort agreed to plead to conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses".
"It's not going to hurt him if he pleads guilty".
Manafort's decision could be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. Even after his indictment last October, though, prosecutors say he continued to commit crimes by tampering with witnesses. "Such respect for a courageous man!"