Donald Trump’s convict ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort has reportedly struck a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller which will see him admit further crimes.
A new set of charges was filed against Manafort Friday, reducing the number of felony counts he faces at his next trial from five to two, and limiting the amount of time he will spend in jail to 10 years.
Reuters reported that Manafort, 69, has agreed with Mueller to admit those crimes – conspiracy againt the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice, two days before jury selection was due to start in Washington DC.
Ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has struck a plea deal which has seen the number of charges against him in an upcoming trial decreased from seven to tw (Picture: AP)It is currently unclear what Manafort has offered the special counsel in return for the lighter charge sheet, but multiple news outlets have speculated that it could be damaging information on Trump and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Just last month, Trump praised Manafort shortly after he was convicted of tax and bank fraud charges.
The president tweeted ‘Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal. Such respect for a brave man!’
That was a reference to his former fixer Cohen, who struck a plea deal that saw him admit an illegal pay-off to porn star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford.
During his hearing at Manattan Federal Court, Cohen’s lawyer told the court that he had made that payment on Trump’s orders, despite previous denials that he had done no such thing.
President Trump previously hailed Manafort as ‘brave’ – but news of today’s plea deal could see the former campaign manager offer damaging information about the president to special counsel Robert Mueller (Picture: Reuters)Cohen has been warned to face three to five years in jail when he is sentenced in December.
Manafort is said to have struck a deal after being spooked about the prospect of being convicted of eight further offenses at his upcoming trial and spending the rest of his life in jail.
It has been rumored that Trump would grant him a presidential pardon for his crimes.
But analysts now say the president is unlikely to do so, as he fears such a move could further bolster the chances of a Democratic takeover of the House in the November midterms.
Manafort began working for Trump’s campaign in March 2016 and was made manager two months later.
Trump minimized Manafort’s involvement in his campaign after a security briefing in August 2016, amid reports of a $12.7million ‘off the books’ payment to Manafort from the pro-Russian Ukrainian Party of Regions political party.
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