Paul Manafort reaches ‘tentative’ plea deal with Robert Mueller

REPORT: Manafort Wants

REPORT: Manafort Wants "No Cooperation" Plea Deal

Paul Manafort, a one-time campaign manager of President Donald Trump, appears to be on the verge of a plea deal with federal prosecutors that would avoid a second trial slated to begin later this month, ABC News reports.

It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

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.

Manafort was convicted last month at trial in Alexandria, Virginia, of charges including bank and tax fraud.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lead defense attorney, told Politico on Thursday that the president's legal team is not concerned about the possibility of a plea deal in Manafort's case, because they are convinced he won't say anything damaging about Trump. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians and the Russians have denied interfering.

Manafort is facing charges related to alleged conspiracy, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

Prosecutors have approached the second trial much like the first: with a wealth of documentary evidence and a range of witnesses who worked with Manafort.

Jackson said she would allow Downing to file additional information about his argument before issuing a ruling, but was inclined to bar such references because they weren't relevant to the charges against Manafort.

Manafort hasn't been sentenced in that case, but the prospect of that prison time and more punishment in the District of Columbia may have induced him and his lawyers to seek to avoid the second trial. A representative from the special counsel's office also declined to comment.

The plea agreement makes Manafort the latest member of Trump's inner circle to cooperate with the investigation that has loomed over his presidency.

Trump praised Manafort last month for not entering into a plea agreement, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. Trump has not said whether or not he would pardon Manafort, but he has not publicly ruled it out. "Paul Manafort is a good man", he said after the Virginia jury returned its verdict.

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