- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reportedly reached a tentative plea deal with prosecutors and won’t go to trial on foreign-agent-law charges.

ABC News reported Thursday evening, citing “sources familiar with the negotiations” that the plea deal will be announced Friday in court.

However, according to ABC News, it wasn’t yet clear whether Manafort was accepting a bargain that would lighten the punishment in exchange for cooperation with the Robert Mueller probe or was entering a guilty plea to avoid a trial.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment in an email to The Washington Times

A pretrial conference scheduled for Friday morning, rescheduled late Thursday night. The conference will begin at 11:30, pushing it back two hours. Jury selection in the Manafort case was set to start next week, with a trial beginning on Sept. 24.

Reports had been surfacing for several weeks that Manafort was seeking to avoid the expense and hassle of a trial. ABC News reported Wednesday that Manafort’s attorneys wanted a plea deal that did not require him to cooperate with the Mueller probe.

Manafort already is facing prison time, having been convicted of eight felony financial-fraud charges earlier this summer in Alexandria, Virginia.

This trial, scheduled to start next month, concerns several counts of fraud and failure to register under the requirements of working as a foreign agent.

Neither trial actually concerned his work with President Trump’s campaign and all the purported conduct happened before he took that post.

The eight Virginia counts could get the 69-year-old campaign operative up to 80 years in federal penitentiary.


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