Paul Manafort reportedly close to Mueller plea deal to avoid second trial

15 September, 2018, 09:39 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort reportedly cuts tentative plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller

A report from ABC News indicated that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager, agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller over charges in his second trial. Negotiations have been underway between his lawyers and the office of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

"Manafort and his most senior defense attorneys spent more than four hours Thursday in discussions with a team of special prosecutors who are involved in the ongoing investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation", the report says.

Manafort was at a controversial meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 where Russians were offering "dirt" on election opponent Hillary Clinton.

Manafort has been reassessing his legal risks after last month's trial.

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.

Joshua Dressler, a law professor at Ohio State University, said it made sense that Manafort, 69, was considering cutting his losses and avoiding the time and money needed to defend himself against a second trial.

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal defense attorney, said Thursday that he is not anxious about Manafort cutting a plea deal because Trump's team is convinced he won't say anything damaging about the president.

US fighter jets intercept two Russian bombers near Alaska
A previous interception of bombers occurring on September 1 involved bombers without any Russian fighter jet escorts, CNN noted . A group of Russian nuclear-capable aircraft ventured near Alaska on september 11 before being intercepted by U.S.

ABC News said it remained unclear whether Manafort had also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Manafort's wife, Kathleen, declined comment as she awaited the hearing. His onetime business partner and protege, Rick Gates, took such a deal and appeared as the government's star witness against Manafort in his Virginia trial last month.

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

Then the judge overseeing his case, Amy Berman Jackson, delayed a major court hearing set for this about his upcoming trial twice.

Trump has repeatedly come to Manafort's defense.

Trump discussed a possible pardon for Manafort with his lawyers earlier this summer, attorney Rudy Giuliani has told NPR. The jury said they were hung on 10 other charges.

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