Paul Manafort reaches ‘tentative’ plea deal with Robert Mueller

REPORT: Manafort Wants

ABC News: Mueller And Manafort Reach 'Tentative' Plea Deal To Avert Second Trial

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is representing Trump in the Russian Federation probe, previously told the Politico news outlet that taking a plea deal to avoid a second trial would not crush Manafort's chances of receiving an eventual presidential pardon.

"There's no fear that Paul Manafort would cooperate against the president because there's nothing to cooperate about and we long ago evaluated him as an honorable man", he added.

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

US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller that would avoid his going on trial next week, ABC News reported on Thursday. Possible outcomes include Manafort pleading guilty ahead of his second trial or cooperating with the special counsel's office.

In August, Manafort was found guilty on eight out of 18 counts of financial crimes in his first trial in Virginia. Desperate for cash, prosecutors said he lied to banks in order to secure $20 million in loans.

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Prosecutors say Manafort's campaign position is relevant to the case because in response to the press coverage, he and Gates developed a false cover story that was later the basis for false statements made to the Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, unit.

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

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

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.

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. Trump has not said whether 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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