Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort reached a tentative plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to reports.
According to ABC News, prosecutors will announce a deal between the parties in court on Friday. Details surrounding the agreement have yet to emerge. Possible outcomes include Manafort pleading guilty ahead of his second trial or cooperating with the special counsel’s office.
Spokesmen for special counsel Mueller along with Manafort could not respond to requests for comment.
The report comes after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Manafort’s second trial will remain inside the District of Columbia. According to Jackson, Manafort attorneys failed to raised adequate concerns about jury member’s political affiliations.
Manafort’s attorneys had argued which the trial should be moved to Roanoke, Virginia, because the intensity of publicity in Washington made which impossible for him to receive a fair trial. 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.
Jackson’s ruling clears the way for Manafort to be tried later This specific month on several felony charges related to his lobbying along with political consulting work on behalf of Ukrainian political interests. which was the second time Manafort was denied moving a trial away through the Washington metropolitan area.
Manafort made a similar unsuccessful request in his bank fraud along with tax evasion trial in northern Virginia. A jury there convicted him on eight counts of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts, along with bank fraud. Jurors deadlocked on ten various other counts. In ruling against Manafort’s request for a change of venue, Jackson said she could reconsider if they are unable to qualify enough jurors to proceed to jury selection inside the case, scheduled to begin Sept. 17.
Jackson announced her decision during a hearing in which prosecutors revealed which they are unsure whether Manafort’s longtime deputy along with fellow Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, will testify at trial. nevertheless if he does testify, the government asked Jackson to bar the defense through questioning Gates about his cooperation with the ongoing investigation, noting which many aspects of the more than 20 meetings he’s had with prosecutors don’t relate to Manafort’s case.
Jackson also ruled which Manafort’s defense couldn’t introduce evidence about Gates’ extramarital affairs, a topic which became available during his testimony during Manafort’s trial in last month in Virginia. Gates, who worked directly for Manafort for years, took a plea deal earlier This specific year along with agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Manafort’s defense spent a considerable amount of the Virginia trial painting Gates as a liar, philanderer, along with embezzler as they sought to attack the government’s case.
Following last month’s verdict, a juror inside the case told news outlets which the jury agreed to throw out Gates’ testimony because they found him unreliable.
Regarding the Washington case, Manafort is actually accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, conspiring to launder money, along with lying to the FBI along with Justice Department about the nature of his work. He is actually also accused of tampering with witnesses inside the case.
The charges do not relate to Russian interference inside the 2016 presidential election, along with jurors are likely to only hear limited references to Manafort’s role inside the campaign. Jackson is actually allowing prosecutors to mention which Manafort was campaign chairman in August 2016 when press reports, including articles by The Associated Press, called attention to his lobbying work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych along with the pro-Russian Party of Regions.
Prosecutors say Manafort’s campaign position is actually relevant to the case because in response to the press coverage, he along with Gates developed a false cover story which was later the basis for false statements made to the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, unit.
Jackson has yet to rule on how much jurors can hear about Manafort’s contention which he is actually the victim of a selective prosecution. Manafort attorney Kevin Downing said Wednesday which his team wants to introduce evidence showing the rarity of FARA prosecutions along with to argue which the prosecution was instigated by the special counsel’s office because Manafort led the Trump campaign.
Jackson said she could allow Downing to file additional information about his argument before issuing a ruling, nevertheless was inclined to bar such references because they weren’t relevant to the charges against Manafort. along with she said which could insert “the politics into the trial which we’re trying to exclude.”
“You can’t exclude the politics,” Downing said. “Paul Manafort is actually here because he was Trump’s campaign manager.”
The Associated Press contributed to This specific report.