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ibusinesslines.com September 21, 2018


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

15 September 2018, 09:39 | Erica Roy

TPM Illustration Getty Images

TPM Illustration  Getty Images

Manafort's legal team has been meeting with prosecutors from the special counsel's office to negotiate a plea deal.

A spokesperson for Manafort and a representative for the special counsel's office both declined to comment.

No details were immediately available about the charges to which Manafort might plead guilty or whether he might cooperate with prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud and tax evasion trial in northern Virginia.

Manafort and his top lawyers spent more than four hours Thursday in discussions with a team of Mueller's special prosecutors who are neck deep in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign. The witness tampering allegations were brought earlier this year, and Manafort has been in jail, awaiting trial, since June because of them.

None of the charges against Manafort related to collusion with Russian Federation.

Following Manafort's conviction in Virginia, Trump said he felt "very badly" for Manafort and praised him for refusing to become a cooperating witness for the government like the president's former legal fixer, Michael Cohen, who separately pleaded guilty in NY to tax fraud, bank fraud and a campaign finance violation.


News of the agreement comes the same month as Manafort's second trial is set to begin.

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.

Trump praised Manafort last month for not entering into a plea agreement, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.

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.

The defense has planned to show that the special counsel had targeted Manafort because he had headed Trump's presidential campaign. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort but he has not publicly ruled it out. A pretrial hearing, postponed this week, is scheduled for Friday. The jury said they were hung on 10 other charges.

"Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign", Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Friday.



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