Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

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

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed a plea deal to avoid a second trial, US media report.

According to court documents, he has agreed to plead guilty on Friday to two criminal counts in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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 probe into alleged Russian election meddling.

However, none of the charges relate to collusion with Russia in the election.

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 his 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.

According to the court documents cited by US media, Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the US and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

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