Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort 'strikes plea deal'

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse for a hearing

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was expected to plead guilty Friday to reduced federal charges in a deal with prosecutors that will allow him to avoid a second trial scheduled to begin next week, a new court filing shows.

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

It comes three weeks after Paul Manafort was convicted in a separate trial on eight counts related to financial fraud, and as the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation increasingly pressures the White House.

A juror in the Virginia case said she discounted testimony from Gates but found the documents that prosecutors introduced to be "overwhelming" in favor of conviction.

Earlier Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a superseding criminal information document, which presages a plea deal.

Manafort agreed to plead to conspiracy against the USA and conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses.

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President Donald Trump with Paul Manafort (far right) and Rick Gates (centre).

The pressure on Manafort only grew after he was convicted last month in a Virginia trial on bank fraud and tax fraud charges brought by Mueller.

As part of the deal, Mr Manafort, 69, could be required to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.

Over a 40-year career, Manafort redefined and expanded Washington's influence industry domestically and internationally, parlaying successful campaigns into lobbying opportunities. "MANAFORT generated more than 60 million dollars in income as a result of his Ukraine work". Trump has raised the idea of a pardon for Manafort with White House aides and others, a source told NPR. Even after his indictment last October, though, prosecutors say he continued to commit crimes by tampering with witnesses.

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.

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