WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election as part of a plea deal.
Manafort appeared in federal court on Friday to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The plea deal was described as a 'cooperation agreement,' with other charges against Manafort to be dropped following his 'successful cooperation' with Mueller's probe.
Manafort had been facing seven charges in Washington, including money laundering, tax fraud, and making false statements to the Department of Justice.
The lobbyist, who ran Trump's presidential campaign for several months, was previously convicted of eight counts of bank and tax fraud in Virginia.
The announcement of the plea deal comes just three days before jury selection for Manafort's second trial was set to begin on Monday.
In a statement responding to the news, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed the agreement has nothing to do with Trump.
'This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign,' Sanders said. 'It is totally unrelated.'
Trump has repeatedly described Mueller's investigation as a 'witch hunt,' although Manafort's cooperation could shed further light on allegations of collusion between the campaign and Russia.
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