Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Paul Manafort Reaches "Tentative" Plea Deal

Paul Manafort Reaches

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, ABC News reports.

He already faces around 10 years in prison after having been convicted in a separate case last month in the Eastern District of Virginia on bank and tax fraud charges.

Manafort and his most senior defense attorneys spent more than four hours Thursday in discussions with a team of special prosecutors who are involved in the ongoing investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

The Post story also didn't have any inside information on the key question: Will Manafort agree to some sort of guilty plea simply to avoid rolling the dice at trial or does this deal involve cooperating with Mueller against Trump.

"It's close but not there yet", one of the sources said about negotiations over a deal.

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Four former Trump aides have pleaded guilty to charges related to the special counsel investigation: Michael Cohen, the president's longtime personal lawyer; Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser; Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chairman; and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser.

Manafort's attorneys had argued that the trial should be moved to Roanoke, Virginia, because the intensity of publicity in Washington made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in Washington, D.C., on Monday in Manafort's second trial in federal court on charges including conspiring to launder money and defraud the United States, and failing to register as a foreign agent for the tens of millions of dollars he earned lobbying for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

ABC News reported Wednesday that Manafort was seeking to avoid a deal that would involve him cooperating with government prosecutors in the Russian Federation investigation.

Manafort has been reassessing his legal risks after last month's trial. "Paul Manafort is a good man", he said after the Virginia jury returned its verdict. Trump has not said whether or not he would pardon Manafort, but he has not publicly ruled it out. The witness tampering allegations were brought earlier this year, and Manafort has been in jail, awaiting trial, since June because of them.

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