Paul Manafort Close To Plea Deal To Avoid Second Federal Trial

On Tuesday January 31 Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York City was present for U.S. President Donald Trump's live announcement of Colo. appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court of the United States nominee in the East Room of the

On Tuesday January 31 Rudy Giuliani former mayor of New York City was present for U.S. President Donald Trump's live announcement of Colo. appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court of the United States nominee in the East Room of the

The report said it is not yet clear whether the plea deal will include cooperation with the special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which brought the charges that relate to Manafort's work as an agent for foreign governments.

Manafort and his top lawyers spent more than four hours Thursday in discussions with a team of Mueller's special prosecutors who are neck deep in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the USA election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign. Jury selection for his second trial is now set to begin on Monday, and opening arguments are scheduled for September 24. Mueller's spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on the possible deal, which was first reported by ABC News.

The second trial, if eventually held, would come about a month after a jury in Virginia convicted Manafort on eight felony counts of filing false tax returns, failing to report offshore bank accounts, and bank fraud.

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Manafort, who has repeatedly insisted that he would not cooperate with the special counsel, has been reassessing his legal risks after last month's trial.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia. The jury deadlocked on 10 other counts. Yet, Jackson said the request appeared to relate more to concerns about the political affiliation of Washington residents, rather than a unique amount of pretrial publicity.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018.

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

"There's no fear that Paul Manafort would cooperate against the president because there's nothing to cooperate about and we long ago evaluated him as an honorable man", Giuliani told Politico.

Prosecutors have previously said one of Manafort's close associates in Ukraine had contacts with a Russian intelligence agency.

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A 69-year-old veteran lobbyist, Manafort joined Trump's campaign team in March 2016 and spent three months as Trump's campaign chairman until mid August 2016.

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