Washington, Sep 14: Paul Manafort, US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager embattled by criminal indictments, is close to a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller for a guilty plea ahead of his upcoming trial, according to an informed source.
Manafort may no longer fight the charges related to his Ukrainian lobbying operation, CNN quoted the source as saying on Thursday.
The incentive appears to be to reach a deal ahead of a pre-trial motion hearing scheduled for Friday and before jury selection begins on September 17 in the Washington D.C. District Court.
The plea would bring to an end to one of the most active criminal cases in the DC federal court system this year.
Manafort’s lawyers have filed hundreds of pages in courts to fight prosecutors’ allegations and have brought two appeals unsuccessfully.
Proceedings scheduled for September 17 would begin a second gruelling, expensive, politically explosive three-week-or-longer trial in federal court.
Manafort faces seven counts of foreign lobbying violations, money laundering conspiracy and witness tampering, CNN said.
He is accused of not disclosing to the Justice Department his work for Ukrainian politicians and laundering that income.
Prosecutors allege he set up meetings with lawmakers and fashioned public relations efforts in the US on the Ukrainians’ behalf.
A jury convicted Manafort in Virginia last month on eight bank and tax fraud charges related to his lobbying wealth after a three-week trial.
Manafort has maintained that he is not guilty since Mueller’s office first charged him with foreign lobbying and financial crimes last October.