Former campaign chief of Donald Trump, spin doctor Paul Manafort pleaded guilty of conspiracy against the U.S. and obstructing justice. Reuters report this with a reference to the judicial documents.
After months of refusing to assist Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference and possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Moscow, Manafort took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate in return for reduced charges.
It was not immediately clear what information about Trump that Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant who ran the campaign as it took off in mid-2016, could offer prosecutors.
But Friday’s announcement was a political blow to Trump’s presidency ahead of Nov. 6 congressional elections that will determine whether or not Republicans maintain control of Congress.
Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington on Friday to counts of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice, becoming the most prominent former Trump campaign official to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation.
He had other charges dropped but could still face 10 years in prison on the two charges in Washington. In August, Manafort was convicted at trial in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges that pre-dated his stint on the Trump campaign and involved his work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.
In a statement, the White House distanced Trump from the man who helped get him elected in November 2016 against the odds in a bitterly contested campaign in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
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