Manafort Deal Includes 10-Year Cap On Prison Time

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

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing, in Washington, DC, May 23, 2018.

The trial included testimony for the prosecution from Manafort's longtime aide, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities and agreed to co-operate with the special counsel probe.

Another approach would be for Manafort to plead guilty without cooperating in hopes of a presidential pardon.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort's cooperation with Mueller's probe, dealing a blow to Trump ahead of congressional elections on November 6.

Manafort is expected to appear in court later Friday morning (local time). Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort, but the president has not publicly ruled it out.

This, in turn, may endear him to President Trump, who has already called Manafort a "good man" who has been unfairly targeted by the Justice Department. Usually it helps you get a pardon down the road.

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ABC News on Thursday evening reported prosecutors would announce a deal between the parties in court on Friday. He declined further comment until after the hearing.

Manafort, 69, earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for foreign governments and spent that money freely, including on a $15,000 ostrich coat, landscaping and real estate.

Manafort attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Kremlin-backed attendees promised to offer damaging information about Trump's 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The case was brought by Mueller's team, which is probing potential crimes related to the 2016 election.

In August, Manafort was found guilty on eight out of 18 counts of financial crimes in his first trial in Virginia. Prosecutors had accused him of hiding from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle and then lying to banks to secure $20 million in loans.

The plea would avoid a trial related to Manafort's alleged lobbying and consulting work on behalf of pro-Russian political parties in Ukraine.

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