Manafort strikes deal to cooperate with US Special Counsel
Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for United States (US) President Donald Trump, has agreed to co-operate with investigators probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election as part of a plea deal.
As part of the agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Manafort pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice in a federal court in Washington DC.
He remains in custody.
The charges are related to his political consultancy work her did for pro-Russian politicians in the Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.
The agreement avoids a second trial for money laundering and other charges following his conviction last month on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts.
Manafort faces up to 10 years in prison under the deal and will also have to forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts.
Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing said his client "wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life".
Prosecutors also indicated that deadlocked charges from last month’s trial in Virginia will be dismissed if there is "successful co-operation" with the special counsel’s investigation.
In a statement after the agreement was announced, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated."