Paul Manafort agrees to cooperate with the special counsel’s Russia probe

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort’s lawyer says the former Trump campaign chairman cut a deal with prosecutors “to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

Kevin Downing says Manafort, of Alexandria, Virginia, has “accepted responsibility.”

Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s Russia probe and pleaded guilty to two federal crimes as part of Friday’s plea deal.

The move allows him to avoid a second criminal trial. He was convicted last month of eight financial crimes in a separate trial in Virginia.

Neither of the cases against Manafort relates to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the central issue in the special counsel’s investigation. Instead, they focus on financial crimes and Manafort’s Ukrainian political consulting work, including failing to register as a foreign agent.