Ex-Trump aide Manafort close to plea deal with Mueller

Shawn Thew  EPA  REX via Shutterstock

Shawn Thew EPA REX via Shutterstock

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has reportedly reached a tentative plea deal with prosecutors and won't go to trial on foreign-agent-law charges.

ABC News reported news of the tentative deal on Thursday, saying it is expected to be announced in court on Friday.

Spokesmen for special counsel Mueller and Manafort would not respond to requests for comment.

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

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 at the August trial was unable to reach a verdict on 10 other counts, after one lone juror said she had reasonable doubt on whether Manafort was guilty, according to another juror.

Manafort came under scrutiny as part of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, though most of the charges against him predated his work on the Trump campaign.

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The sticking point on a deal has appeared to be Manafort's cooperation with the Mueller Probe, but this cooperation could also jeopardize Manafort's chance at being pardoned by President Donald Trump. 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!" he added, contrasting him to his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who accused the president of ordering him to commit campaign finance violations.

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

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.

Prosecutors have said Manafort and Kilimnik conspired to tamper with witnesses, which prompted US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to revoke his bail and order him jailed pending trial.

In the Virginia trial, prosecutors said Manafort hid from USA 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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