Paul Manafort, prosecutors reach tentative deal to avoid second trial, sources say

Paul Manafort, prosecutors reach tentative deal to avoid second trial, sources say

Special counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump campaign Paul Manafort have reached what ABC News is describing as a "tentative" plea deal to avert his upcoming trial in D.C., the network reported Thursday based on sources familiar with the negotiations.

The deal is expected to be announced in a Washington courtroom on Friday, but it remains unclear whether Manafort has also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, ABC said, citing three unnamed sources with knowledge of the discussions.

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.

His trial on the second set of charges is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Washington on Monday.

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.

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Manafort is already facing 8 to 10 years in prison from the eight guilty counts in Virginia, terms that may not change significantly no matter the outcome of the second trial.

Mueller is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 US election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow to help him win.

Neither trial actually concerned his work with President Trump's campaign and all the purported conduct happened before he took that post. If Manafort is getting a deal, that means Mueller is getting something in return. Prosecutors said he evaded taxes on $16 million laundered through shell companies overseas. Trump has denied colluding with the Russians. He resigned in August 2016 following a news report linking him to payments from Yanukovych's pro-Russia political party. Opening statements for trial number two are still scheduled (until we learn officially that there won't be a trial) for September 24.

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 has not said whether or not he would pardon Manafort, but he has not publicly ruled it out. "Paul Manafort is a good man", he said after the Virginia jury returned its verdict. But Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had already signaled that argument was out-of-bounds.

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