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

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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.

The feds were expected to announce the agreement in court Friday, but it remained uncertain whether the worldwide man of intrigue had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the Russian Federation probe.

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.

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.

Four former Trump aides have pleaded guilty to charges related to the special counsel investigation: Michael Cohen, the president's longtime personal lawyer; Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser; Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chairman; and George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser.

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

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. Prosecutors said he evaded taxes on $16 million laundered through shell companies overseas.

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's attorneys had argued that the trial should be moved to Roanoke, Virginia, because the intensity of publicity in Washington made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

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. The witness tampering allegations were brought earlier this year, and Manafort has been in jail, awaiting trial, since June because of them.

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