Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has reached a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to avert a second trial on federal charges stemming from his lucrative work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record.
Manafort is due in federal court for what the Justice Department called "an arraignment and plea agreement hearing" on Friday morning, following the release of new charging documents against him.
Jurors in Virginia last month found Manafort guilty, in a separate case, on two counts of bank fraud, five counts of tax fraud and one charge of failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, giving special counsel Robert Mueller a victory in the first trial arising from his investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election.
The charges do not relate to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The second count, for conspiracy to obstruct justice, concerns attempts to tamper with witnesses related to Manafort's foreign lobbying.
That posture drew plaudits from Trump, who praised his former campaign chairman for his unwillingness to cooperate with the special counsel.
The charges in his second trial were set to include money laundering, conspiring to defraud the USA, witness tampering and failing to register as a foreign agent.
On Thursday, ABC News reported that Manafort's legal team had reached a tentative deal with Mueller's team after an hours-long meeting at the special counsel's downtown Washington, DC, offices. The president has signaled that he's sympathetic to Manafort's cause, and in comments to Politico, his attorney-spokesman Rudy Giuliani said a plea without a cooperation agreement wouldn't foreclose the possibility of a pardon.
Most of the charges Mueller brought against him stemmed from that pre-2016 Ukraine work, however some of the bank fraud allegations in Virginia overlapped with Manafort's time on the campaign and after.
Manafort's conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, last month was at a trial arising from Mueller's investigation. Gates may have been a prosecution witness in his Washington trial as well.
Asked by reporters at the White House if he would consider a pardon if Manafort is convicted, Trump said last month: "I don't talk about that".
Manafort, 69, earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for foreign governments and spent that money freely, including on a $15,000 ostrich coat, landscaping and real estate.
Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge in the D.C. case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, threw him in pretrial detention for alleged witness tampering.