Discussions on Snowden’s return were held in the past several weeks between prosecutors in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Plato Cacheris, a long-time Washington defense lawyer who in the past represented several U.S. spies, including some who reached plea bargains rather than go to trial.

Cacheris declined to comment when asked about the discussions. “There’s nothing to report,” he told the Washington Free Beacon.

No details of the discussions could be learned. But the talks focused on a plea deal that would result in Snowden returning to the United States to face lesser charges in exchange for returning the large cache of secret documents, said officials familiar with some aspects of the talks.

A Justice Department spokesman would not comment directly when asked about discussions on a deal for Snowden.