Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Manafort and Mueller have reached a tentative plea deal

Manafort and Mueller have reached a tentative plea deal

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair for President Donald Trump, reached a "tentative" agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to charges that were set to be taken to trial this month, according to a new report from ABC News.

ABC News reported on Thursday evening that Manafort was likely to enter a guilty plea in court on Friday, bringing an end to several weeks of negotiations between his lawyers and Mueller's team. ABC News reported Wednesday that Manafort's attorneys wanted a plea deal that did not require him to cooperate with the Mueller probe.

In the second trial, the former Trump campaign manager is facing charges of conspiring to defraud the federal government, money laundering, and witness tampering.

The report of a tentative deal comes days before jury selection is expected to begin for Manafort's trial in D.C., which is set to kick off with opening statements on September 24. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 10 counts, which ended in mistrial.

The trial would be the second for Manafort stemming from Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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Notes from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a meeting he attended past year with a Russian lobbyist and Donald Trump Jr. are not seen as damaging to the Trump family or campaign officials, according to government officials and others who have looked at the notes... "Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to "break" - makeup stories in order to get a 'deal". Trump's critics have pointed to the meeting as evidence of the collusion with Russian Federation that Trump denies. "Such respect for a courageous man!" Opening statements for trial number two are still scheduled (until we learn officially that there won't be a trial) for September 24. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort but he has not publicly ruled it out. Desperate for cash, prosecutors said he lied to banks in order to secure $20 million in loans.

Before joining Trump's campaign, Manafort worked extensively for pro-Kremlin politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia.

A second trial could delve deeper into Manafort's Russian connections including to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian-Russian political consultant who was indicted along with Manafort and who Mueller's team has linked to Russian intelligence. But Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had already signaled that argument was out-of-bounds.

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