The President’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has reached a tentative plea deal with the special counsel, which sources say may change the course of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
According to these sources, the deal will most likely be announced today, although it is still unclear whether Manafort has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors or is simply conceding to a guilty plea to avoid a trial.
Defense attorneys for Manafort spent over four hours on Thursdays in discussions with Mueller’s investigators who are looking into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, ABC News informs.
The news of the deal comes as Manafort’s second trial in Washington, D.C. is set to begin later this month. Although there has been some speculation that Manafort might flip on his former boss, CNBC reports that he was resistant to the idea of providing information about President Donald Trump and turning on him.
The plea deal is highly unlikely to include an explicit requirement that the former campaign chairman help Mueller in his probe. However, some legal experts say that Manafort won’t be offered a plea deal unless he discloses everything he knows about Trump.
“Manafort would have to be willing to completely cross that river and disclose everything that he’s ever done, everything Donald Trump’s ever done, and everything that everyone around him has ever done,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor.
Almost a year ago, Manafort was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent and his upcoming trial largely relates to work that Manafort did for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine prior to his appointment as campaign chairman. He left the President’s campaign only a few months after joining it, following reports by news outlets that he had been tied to alleged undisclosed foreign lobbying practices in Ukraine.
Manafort has been held in jail without bail for about three months after prosecutors accused him of witness tampering. Last month, he was found guilty of eight criminal counts by a federal jury in Virginia, including five counts of tax fraud, CNBC reports.