Manafort to cooperate with Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election meddling

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President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort plead guilty Friday and agreed to cooperate in the special counsel investigation of possible campaign collusion with Russian Federation.

Manafort, also pleaded guilty to two criminal counts of conspiracy.

Just over an hour ago, Paul Manafort was in a USA court pleading guilty to charges brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort served for several months on the campaign, including as campaign chairman, until he was sacked in August 2016, amid revelations of the scope of his consulting and lobbying work for Ukrainian politicians, including then-President Viktor Yanukovych. And during his Virginia trial in August, Manafort's lawyers spent considerable time painting Gates as a liar, embezzler, philanderer and turncoat who would say anything to get a lighter prison sentence. It shows that "Manafort has something of value to offer Mueller", tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. At the end of the hour-long hearing, Manafort responded to a statement of offense with "I plead guilty".

"He wanted to be able to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life".

Kevin M. Downing, an attorney for Manafort, also said this summer that there was "no chance" his client would flip and cooperate with prosecutors.

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

Last month, after Manafort was found guilty on eight felony counts in a previous criminal trial, Trump praised his former top aid for refusing to "break" under the legal pressure.

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Now, Manafort has plead guilty to two felonies and has made it clear he will cooperate with US prosecutors with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was asked by Reid whether he had been told by Manafort's attorneys that the cooperation deal will not require him to share anything related to the president.

The jury in that case deadlocked on 10 counts that on Friday were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Today's court filings describe Manafort lobbying for Ukraine's former pro-Russian government as covertly as possible, reaping more than $60 million in the process and laundering the money, then his efforts earlier this year to get potential witnesses from his group to falsely say that they were not lobbying in the United States.

Manafort used one of his offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay the law firm-a fact he didn't disclose to the public, the information said.

Prosecutors say that Manafort directed a large scale lobbying operation in the USA for Ukrainian interests without registering with the Justice Department as required by the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. Even after his indictment last October, though, prosecutors say he continued to commit crimes by tampering with witnesses. Court papers indicated that he could have faced between 15 and 19 1/2 years in prison under federal guidelines.

Many have long speculated that the special counsel's main aim in charging Manafort with financial and lobbying crimes was to pressure him to "flip" - so he'd agree to provide information related to their true concern of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian Federation to interfere with the election.

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