Paul Manafort reaches ‘tentative’ plea deal with Robert Mueller

Paul Manafort reaches ‘tentative’ plea deal with Robert Mueller

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that will head off his upcoming trial, sources familiar with the negotiations tell ABC News.

A second case was opened in Virginia earlier this year on related charges that ended with a jury finding Manafort guilty on eight counts out of an 18-count indictment, facing a maximum of 80 years behind the bars, though under sentencing guidelines the term is likely to be closer to seven years.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing said Wednesday that his team wants to introduce evidence showing the rarity of FARA prosecutions and to argue that the prosecution was instigated by the special counsel's office because Manafort led the Trump campaign.

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.

The trial would be the second for Manafort stemming from Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Another trial was to begin later this month based on charges filed against Manafort a year ago in Washington, DC.

Jackson announced her decision during a hearing in which prosecutors revealed that they are unsure whether Manafort's longtime deputy and fellow Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, will testify at trial.

Leaked Study Documents Thousands of German Sex-Abuse Cases
Pope Francis has launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities involving the 550-year-old Sistine Chapel Choir. DiNardo's deputy Jose Horacio Gomez and general secretary Brian Bransfield also attended the closed-door meeting.

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.

Word of the agreement comes as Manafort's second trial was slated to begin later this month in federal court in Washington, D.C.

A pretrial conference scheduled for Friday morning, rescheduled late Thursday night.

None of the charges against Manafort related to collusion with Russian Federation. Trump has not said whether or not he would pardon Manafort, but he has not publicly ruled it out.

In the Virginia trial, prosecutors said Manafort hid from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle that included purchasing multimillion-dollar properties, an ostrich skin jacket and other valuables.

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