Manafort violated plea deal, lied to investigators, prosecutors say

27 November, 2018, 08:25 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Mueller accuses Manafort of breaking plea agreement by lying

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to the special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election, breaching his plea agreement, according to a court filing on Monday.

The court filing indicated that Mueller's team also had suffered a potential setback, after gaining access to a witness with potential knowledge of several key events relevant to the probe during his tenure with Donald Trump's presidential campaign from March to August 2016, including a Trump Tower meeting attended by a Russian lawyer and the Republican National Convention.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, said in the filing that Mr Manafort lied to investigators in a series of interviews after signing a plea agreement.

Manafort had agreed to a plea deal in September a month after he was found guilty by a jury of various crimes including tax evasion charges and two bank fraud charges.

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The move signals a return to the acrimonious relationship Manafort has had with the special counsel's office since his indictment past year.

But in a court filing on Monday, Mr Mueller said that after signing the deal "Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's office on a variety of subject matters".

The surprise development came at a critical time for Mueller, who is expected to finalise a report in the coming months on the findings of his 18-month probe into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

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Attorneys for Manafort wrote in the filing that Manafort "has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations". Still, both sides now agree they can't resolve the conflict, and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson should set a date to sentence him.

As part of his plea deal, Manafort admitted to committing a host of money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes and fraud, giving the federal prosecutors leverage over him.

Mr Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt. Manafort remains jailed and is expected to face at least 10 years in prison.

As part of his plea agreement, Manafort also agreed to forfeit five properties he owned in NY, including his apartment at Trump Tower and his sprawling estate in the Hamptons.

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