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

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Former Trump campaign chairman and New Britain native Paul Manafort and special counsel Robert Mueller are close to a deal for a guilty plea ahead of his upcoming trial, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The report said that it was not clear yet whether the deal includes Manafort's cooperation, which ABC News previously reported was a desire of the special counsel in the negotiations.

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.

Paul Manafort worked for five months on Trump's 2016 campaign, including three as chairman.

In the second trial, the former Trump campaign manager is facing charges of conspiring to defraud the federal government, money laundering, and witness tampering.

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. It's unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

More news: Former Trump campaign chief Manafort to cooperate in Russian Federation probe

The trial would be the second for Manafort stemming from Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A representative from the special counsel's office also declined to comment. Trump has not said whether he would pardon Manafort but he has not publicly ruled it out.

Manafort's plea deal follows agreements that Mueller's team had already reached with Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Manafort's former deputy Rick Gates. Opening statements for trial number two are still scheduled (until we learn officially that there won't be a trial) for September 24.

In addition to the criminal charges, prosecutors said in a court filing that Manafort could be forced to forfeit assets that would deal him a significant financial blow: four houses he owns, including an expansive retreat in the Hamptons, plus four bank accounts and the proceeds of a life insurance policy.

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.

"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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