Manafort reaches 'tentative' plea deal with Mueller


It remains unclear if the deal will include Manafort cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

ABC News spotted Manafort and his attorneys entering a secret entrance to the building where Mueller's office is located on Thursday morning, and the two parties spent more than four hours in there. The second trial is due to begin on September 24.

His lawyers have reportedly been in talks with Mueller's team about a possible plea deal to prevent the second trial from going forward.

The network said could be pleading guilty to avoid the stress and expense of a second trial following his conviction in Virginia on tax fraud and money laundering charges.

Jackson's ruling clears the way for Manafort to be tried later this month on several felony charges related to his lobbying and political consulting work on behalf of Ukrainian political interests. In pretrial filings, they listed 2,127 doable exhibits.The protection has been planning to utter that the special counsel had focused Mr. Manafort because of he had headed Mr. Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump's attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, was quoted earlier on Thursday saying that the president's team remained in "open communication" with Manafort's as part of an agreement to share information, renewing speculation that Trump may pardon the former aide for his crimes.

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The president railed against plea deals in general after Cohen pleaded guilty last month to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges, implicating Trump in the cover-up of a potential sex scandal during the 2016 presidential race. Gates may be a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well. "Paul Manafort is a moral man", he mentioned after the Virginia jury returned its verdict.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly come to Mr. Manafort's defense.

"I plead guilty", Manafort said.

In the Virginia trial, prosecutors said Manafort hid from US 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.

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