Manafort expected to plead guilty to federal crimes

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has filed a superseding criminal information against former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFormer White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report Cohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: report MORE, indicating a forthcoming guilty plea on charges related to his work lobbying for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. 

The filing was made in federal court on Friday, ahead of a pretrial conference at 11 a.m. 
 
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The pretrial conference was changed to an arraignment and plea agreement hearing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, according to a notice Friday morning from the court. 
 
A criminal information typically precedes a guilty plea. 
 
Officials told The Washington Post that Manafort had agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes.
 
A guilty plea will allow Manafort to evade what was likely to be another explosive trial stemming from Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference, weeks after he was convicted in a separate bank and tax fraud trial in Virginia. 
 
It remains unclear whether any plea agreement will include Manafort's cooperation in Mueller's investigation.
 
Should Manafort agree to cooperate, the development could be significant. Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman until August 2016, and was one of three Trump associates who participated in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer after being offered damaging information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Heller embraces Trump in risky attempt to survive in November Live coverage: Cruz, O'Rourke clash in Texas debate MORE, Trump's opponents.
 
The criminal information alleges that Manafort illegally lobbied on behalf of pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.
 
It also alleges that he laundered more than $30 million into the United States in connection with his work, evading more than $15 million in taxes. It charges him with one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. 
 
Manafort was convicted in August on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, which included failing to report foreign bank accounts, in a federal district court in Virginia. The three-week trial centered on income Manafort earned working as a political consultant in Ukraine.
 
The jury failed to reach a consensus on another 10 counts, forcing the judge to rule a mistrial on those charges. Prosecutors had not yet said whether they planned to retry him on the 10 counts.
 
In the D.C. case, Manafort was facing seven separate charges, including failing to register as a lobbyist for a foreign country, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and obstructing justice for witness tampering.
 
Prosecutors had offered Manafort the opportunity to have a single trial on all charges, but he refused, forcing prosecutors to bring charges both in the Eastern District of Virginia and D.C.
 
Court watchers had expected the D.C. trail to be more explosive than the Virginia proceedings and uncover links between President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE’s campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.