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Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort strikes plea deal

  • 14 September 2018
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Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from US District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018Image copyright Reuters

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges as part of a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

He has also agreed to co-operate further with the Special Counsel as part of the deal.

On Friday, he admitted a charge of conspiracy against the US and a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Manafort was convicted last month on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose banks accounts.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the justice department’s probe into alleged Russian election meddling.

However, the charges only relate to Manafort’s political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.

Manafort, 69, was a key figure in Mr Trump’s inner circle, but the president has since sought to distance himself from his former adviser.

The charges in the second trial were set to include money laundering, conspiring to defraud the US, witness tampering and failing to register as a foreign agent. Jury selection was due to start on Monday and his guilty plea avoided a lengthy trial.

In the first trial, Manafort was accused of using 31 foreign bank accounts in three different countries to evade taxes on millions of dollars.

Prosecutors presented evidence of Manafort’s luxurious lifestyle, saying it was only possible because of his bank and tax fraud.

President Trump has branded the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt” and insisted there was no collusion between his team and Russia.

BBC News – US & Canada

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