WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors on Friday dropped five of seven charges pending against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, in a step toward a plea agreement expected to be finalized within hours.
In documents filed with the United States District Court in Washington, prosecutors from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, charged Mr. Manafort with one count of conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The prosecutors dropped five other charges encompassing money laundering and violations of a lobbying disclosure law.
A pretrial hearing was scheduled for later in the day at which further details of the deal could be laid out for Judge Amy Berman Jackson. It is not clear whether Mr. Manafort will cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s team in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and related questions about possible collusion by the Trump campaign and obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.
Mr. Manafort was convicted last month on bank and tax fraud charges after a trial in federal court in Alexandria, Va. He was scheduled to face a second trial on seven separate but related charges in Washington starting next week. The charges stem from work he did as a political consultant in Ukraine.
Any guilty plea would be another unsettling development for Mr. Trump. For months, Mr. Trump has praised Mr. Manafort for fighting the charges. In private discussions with his lawyers, Mr. Trump has raised the possibility of pardoning Mr. Manafort.