Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort to cooperate in Russian Federation probe

Washington DC.- Manafort faces charges including conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy against the United States

In August, Manafort's attorneys filed a motion requesting the trial be moved from Washington to Roanoke, Virginia. The meeting was described as part of the Russian government effort to help the Trump campaign.

Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia.

A Virginia jury convicted Manafort last month on bank and tax fraud charges.

The planned plea, if accepted by a judge, would short-circuit his second trial scheduled to begin later this month in the District of Columbia on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations.

Those were among the first charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Scott Dworkin, a Democratic strategist and MSNBC contributor, believes that Manafort's cooperation will spell the end of Trump's time in office.

Details of the deal are likely to emerge in a plea agreement hearing in federal court.

Manafort, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and purple tie, appeared upbeat as he arrived in court where he quickly took his place at the podium to enter his plea of guilty to two conspiracy counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The probe has cast a shadow over the Republican's presidency and Manafort's decision to cooperate deals a setback to Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6.

Mr Manafort would become the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.

His decision to plead guilty, indicated in a court filing on Friday, came just days before jury selection was set to begin September 17 in Washington, where Mueller accused him of conspiring to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Ukraine and obstructing justice. CNN is reporting that Manafort has already given information to the Department of Justice (reminder that a report from earlier this year contained a nugget saying that Trump has told friends and aides that Manafort can incriminate him).

Prosecutors filed new charging documents against Manafort which contained a criminal information, a document that can only be filed with a defendant's consent and typically signals a deal has been reached.

He's also indicted former Manafort business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, now believed to be in Russia, for obstruction of justice and 25 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for interfering in the USA 2016 presidential election.

In December, Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said. Trump's critics have pointed to the meeting as evidence of the collusion with Russian Federation that Trump denies. He sat straight or leaned his chin on his right hand throughout a lengthy recital of the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

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