Paul Manafort Has Reportedly Agreed ‘Tentatively’ to Deal with Mueller’s Office

14 September, 2018, 17:03 | Author: Wade Massey
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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort seeks plea deal without special counsel cooperation: report Investigators looking at suspicious money transfers after Trump Tower meeting, election: report Poll: More Americans favor Mueller's handling of Russian Federation probe than Trump's MORE has reportedly reached a "tentative" plea deal with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE.

ABC says the deal will be announced in court on Friday, heading off the upcoming trial. ABC News reported Wednesday that Manafort's attorneys wanted a plea deal that did not require him to cooperate with the Mueller probe. 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.

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

If Manafort decides to cooperate with Mueller, it would be a blow to Trump, who last month praised his former aide for not entering into a plea agreement, as the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had. If Manafort is getting a deal, that means Mueller is getting something in return. Desperate for cash, prosecutors said he lied to banks in order to secure $20 million in loans.

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Since Manafort's guilty verdict in August, speculation has mounted that Trump could pardon him.

Before joining Trump's campaign, Manafort worked extensively for pro-Kremlin politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Gates could be called as a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well, as could veteran political operative Samuel Patten, who pleaded guilty to unregistered lobbying for Ukrainian politicians two weeks ago.

Manafort's second trial is expected to delve deeper into Manafort's Russian connections including to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian-Russian political consultant who was indicted along with Manafort and who Mueller's team has linked to Russian intelligence. But Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had already signaled that argument was out-of-bounds. The jury said they were hung on 10 other charges.

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