Ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to FBI even after agreeing plea deal, says Robert Mueller

Filing does not detail alleged offence 

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 26 November 2018 02:03
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort repeatedly lied to the FBI even after agreeing a plea deal, special prosecutor Robert Mueller has alleged.

In a court filing made in Washington DC, Mr Mueller’s office claimed that “crimes and lies” made by Manafort during a series of interviews with lawyers meant the agreements made by prosecutors in September were no longer applicable. The special counsel asked a judge to set a date for the sentencing of the 69-year-old.

But Manafort’s lawyers disagreed, according to the New York Times. They insisted the man who led Mr Trump’s campaign from June to August 2016 - a brief but crucial period for the former Apprentice star when he secured the Republican nomination - had been truthful with prosecutors.

In the same filing updating Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, they said Manafort had been honest. Because of the disagreement with prosecutors, they also asked that the case move to the sentencing phase.

In their filing, Mr Mueller’s team wrote: “After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel’s office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.

“The government will file a detailed sentencing submission to the probation department and the court in advance of sentencing that sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies.”

In September, Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mr Mueller’s team as part of an agreement that saw him plead guilty to two charges - one of conspiracy against the United States and one of witness tampering.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads guilty

The plea meant Manafort avoided going through a a second trial, on charges of money laundering and lobbying violations. He was already facing eight to 10 years in prison after being convicted in August in Virginia on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts relating to $16m (£12m) laundered through shell companies overseas.

Manafort is awaiting sentencing on both of the cases. There has been talk that Manafort could face decades in jail, unless he was pardoned by Mr Trump.

After Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mr Mueller there was much speculation about what sort of information he might be able to provide about the president, who recently completed a series of written answers to questions put to him by Mr Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The court filing did not specify what Manafort had lied to agents about. However, Mr Mueller’s office insisted it was sufficient to invalidate any undertaking prosecutors had given.

“A breach relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement, including its agreement to a reduction in the sentencing guidelines for acceptance of responsibility, but leaves intact all the obligations of the defendant as well as his guilty pleas,” Mr Mueller wrote.

At the time of his plea deal, his lawyer Kevin Downing, said it included a full cooperation agreement. “He wanted to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life,” Mr Downing told reporters outside of the courthouse. “He has accepted responsibility.”

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