Manafort Due In Court At 11 A.M. ET Amid Reports Of Plea Deal With Mueller

TPM Illustration. Photos by Getty Images/Tom Williams/ BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Updated at 9:08 a.m. ET, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump campaign Paul Manafort have reached what ABC News is describing as a “tentative” plea deal to avert his upcoming trial in D.C., the network reported Thursday based on sources familiar with the negotiations. Other news outlets offered similar reports overnight, and Fox News reported Friday morning that a plea agreement had been reached.

The initial ABC report said that it was not clear yet whether the deal includes Manafort’s cooperation, which the network previously reported was a desire of the special counsel in the negotiations. Manafort had resisted agreeing to cooperate, particularly where President Trump was concerned, according to ABC News’ previous reporting.

An agreement would resolve the cases against Manafort in DC and Virginia, CNN reported.

According to the latest report, the deal is expected to be announced in court in D.C. on Friday. Just as the news of the tentative deal was breaking, a previously scheduled pretrial hearing in the D.C. case was pushed back from 9:30 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET.

Manafort has already been convicted of eight counts brought by Mueller in a case, focused on tax fraud and bank fraud allegations, that went to trial in Virginia this summer. The jury there was deadlocked on 10 others.

In the D.C. case, Manafort is facing charges of money laundering, witness tampering, and failure to disclose foreign lobbying.

The money laundering and foreign lobbying charges stem from consulting work Manafort did in Ukraine that predated the 2016 campaign. The witness tampering allegations were brought earlier this year, and Manafort has been in jail, awaiting trial, since June because of them.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in late-March 2016, and by summer had risen to campaign chair, where he helped Trump navigate the final stretches of the GOP primary. He was ousted from the campaign in August, with growing scrutiny of the Ukraine work.

In Ukraine, Manafort worked for the pro-Russia Party of Regions, and according to prosecutors, coordinated a covert campaign to lobby U.S. officials on his clients’ interests.

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