Paul Manafort, Robert Mueller reach tentative plea deal

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U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has tentatively agreed to a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to media reports on Thursday. 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 September 24.

ABC reached out to a spokesperson for Manafort and a representative for the special counsel's office.

ABC News reported Wednesday that Manafort was seeking to avoid a deal that would involve him cooperating with government prosecutors in the Russian Federation investigation. Separately, Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, implicated him in a criminal campaign finance violation during his own plea hearing in federal court last month.

Prosecutors have said Manafort and Kilimnik conspired to tamper with witnesses, which prompted U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to revoke his bail and order him jailed pending trial. Possible outcomes include Manafort pleading guilty ahead of his second trial or cooperating with the special counsel's office. For months, Trump has praised Manafort for confronting Mueller instead of trying to negotiate a plea deal.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly come to Mr. Manafort's defense.

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And it suggests that investigators, who have brought charges against four Trump aides and two groups of Russian operatives, still have other targets in their sights. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 counts for Manafort, however.

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed the two discussed the pardon in early June, months before the guilty conviction.

In the Virginia trial, prosecutors said Manafort hid from US tax authorities $16 million he earned as a political consultant in Ukraine to fund an opulent lifestyle that included purchasing multimillion-dollar properties, an ostrich skin jacket and other valuables.

"I plead guilty", Manafort said.

He joined the president's campaign in March 2016 and became campaign chairman in May, and left the campaign in August days after the New York Times and the Associated Press ran reports that he had been tied to alleged undisclosed foreign lobbying practices in Ukraine.