POLITICS
09/13/2018 07:59 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2018

Paul Manafort Reaches Tentative Plea Deal With Robert Mueller's Team: Reports

Trump's former campaign chairman had already been convicted of several felonies and was about to face another trial in the special counsel's investigation.

WASHINGTON ― Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal with the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller, reported ABC News and NPR on Thursday. 

The tentative plea deal reportedly came after Manafort was found guilty last month by a federal jury sitting in northern Virginia on eight counts of tax and bank fraud charges, but ahead of Manafort’s upcoming trial on additional federal charges in the nation’s capital.

CNN, however, described the two sides as coming “close” to a deal on Thursday.

ABC News spotted Manafort and his attorneys entering a secret entrance to the building where Mueller’s office is located on Thursday morning, and the two parties spent more than four hours in there. 

Three sources with knowledge of the discussions told ABC News that the deal is expected to be announced Friday, but it’s unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team or will merely concede to a guilty plea. 

Manafort came under scrutiny as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, though most of the charges against him predated his work on the Trump campaign.

Former Manafort associate and Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates testified against his former boss at Manafort’s first trial, where prosecutors laid out how Manafort skirted taxes on the money he received from Ukrainian oligarchs through his use of overseas bank accounts. A Trump-supporting juror on the first trial said that a single holdout on the jury prevented Manafort from being convicted on all counts.

The second trial in D.C. would have centered on charges that Manafort was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the United States, that he failed to register as a foreign agent, that he laundered money, that he made false statements and that he tampered with witnesses.

Trump had in the past hinted about pardoning Manafort, and it’s something he discussed with his attorneys. Agreeing to cooperate against the president, of course, will likely squash any hope that Manafort had of receiving a pardon from Trump.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

Lydia O’Connor contributed reporting.

CONVERSATIONS