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President Trump's ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort tentatively agreed to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that will head off his upcoming second trial, ABC News reported Thursday.

Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing and Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment on the ABC News report.

He already faced a possible sentence of life behind bars before the second trial began in Washington, D.C.

The discussions between Team Manafort and Team Mueller reportedly went on for more than four hours on Thursday.

Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman until August 2016, when he stepped down as reports emerged about the work he did for Russia-backed oligarchs in Ukraine. Another trial was to begin later this month based on charges filed against Manafort past year in Washington, DC.

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.

None of the charges against Manafort related to collusion with Russian Federation.

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"There's no fear that Paul Manafort would cooperate against the president because there's nothing to cooperate about and we long ago evaluated him as an honorable man", he added.

The trial would be the second for Manafort stemming from Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and the campaign's deputy chairman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation, later testifying against Manafort in Virginia.

In other words, there is a difference, as Law&Crime explained on Wednesday, between entering a guilty plea on all charges to avoid trial and cutting a deal to do the same.

The longtime political strategist is scheduled to stand trial in Washington on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, making false statements and obstruction of justice.

"If the government agrees to a plea deal without cooperation now, they save nothing in terms of time, money, or resources", said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted the Gambino family boss John Gotti. Trump has not said whether or not he would pardon Manafort, but he has not publicly ruled it out.


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