Paul Manafort discussed plea deal to forestall second set of charges: report

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort reportedly tried to strike a plea deal with prosecutors last week ahead of his second trial, but failed to reach an agreement.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the discussions, reported Monday that the negotiations between Manafort’s defense team and prosecutors occurred during jury deliberations last week during his trial on bank and tax fraud charges. Those talks came to a halt after Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought up certain issues, the report said.

It was not clear what the issues entailed, or what was specifically being discussed regarding the plea deal itself, according to the Journal. The negations were reportedly centered around preventing a second trial that Manafort faces next month on similar charges.

The Journal reported that both Manafort and Mueller's team declined to comment for the report. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News.

After four days of deliberations, Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud for hiding millions of dollars he earned from his political consulting in Ukraine. The jury was deadlocked on 10 other counts. A juror told Fox News that one lone holdout prevented a conviction of all 18 counts.

Manafort faces a second trial in Washington on charges that include conspiring against the United States, conspiring to launder money, failing to register as an agent of a foreign principal and providing false statements.

The news comes after President Donald Trump addressed Manafort’s conviction during a Fox News interview on Thursday, in which he said he had “great respect" for "what he's done... what he's gone through."

The president noted that unlike his former attorney Michael Cohen, who admitted last week to campaign finance violations by arranging hush money payments “at the direction” of then-candidate Trump, Manafort did not “flip.”

Cohen could have received up to 65 years in prison if convicted of all charges. However, as part of his plea deal, Cohen agreed not to challenge any sentence between 46 and 63 months. The deal does not involve a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors.

“I’ve seen it many times,” Trump told Fox News. “I’ve had many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal.”

Manafort is facing a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison.

Fox News' Peter Doocey contributed to this report.