Mueller Files Superseding Information Ahead Of Manafort Plea Deal Hearing

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday filed a superseding information against Paul Manafort, ahead of what D.C. federal court now lists as a plea agreement hearing for the former Trump campaign chairman.

The two-count information charges Manafort with one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering. It’s also seeks forfeiture of assets Manafort obtained through the alleged scheme.

Earlier Friday morning, citing “officials,” the Washington Post reported that a plea agreement had been reached. It will be revealed in D.C. federal court at an 11 a.m. ET hearing. The agreement would resolve the cases against Manafort in D.C. and Virginia, allowing him to avoid a second criminal trial, according to CNN.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson must approve the plea agreement.

The pivotal unanswered question is whether the deal requires Manafort to cooperate with federal prosecutors, providing information about his tenure on the Trump campaign. Such an agreement would be a blow to President Trump, who has opined that witness “flipping” should be illegal. A deal that does not require Manafort’s cooperation would suggest that the former lobbyist is banking on a pardon from the White House.

In charging Manafort with conspiracy against the United States, prosecutors alleged in the new criminal information that Manafort engaged in money laundering, tax fraud, failure to file Foreign Bank Account Reports, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lying and making misrepresentations to the Justice Department.

Those allegations mirrors the indictments faced in both D.C. and Virginia, suggesting that the criminal information may be the basis for a plea agreement that covers both cases. The criminal information does not mirror the bank fraud charges that were part of the Virginia case, many of which the jury deadlocked on.

This post has been updated.

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