Friday, 14 December, 2018

Mueller accuses Manafort of breaking plea agreement by lying

Mueller says Manafort violated plea agreement by lying to investigators Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign chair lied, broke plea agreement
Leonard Rios | 27 November, 2018, 09:13

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office "on a variety of subject matters" since his plea deal earlier this year, thereby violating the agreement, Mueller said in a court filing submitted Monday night, while adding that Manafort claims he's been truthful.

Manafort is denying that he lied.

Both Mueller and Manafort asked the judge to proceed with sentencing of Manafort without delay.

A jury in Virginia convicted Manafort in the case Mueller brought against him there, where the charges focused on bank fraud and tax fraud allegations that mostly predated the 2016 campaign.

Mr Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant who made tens of millions of dollars working for pro-Kremlin politicians in Ukraine, ran the Trump campaign as it took off in mid-2016. "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".

One way of looking at the Manafort news is that it presents a major opportunity for the special counsel to speak on a number of aspects of the investigation through a court filing - something that Mueller has already been doing.

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Under an agreement with prosecutors, Manafort faces a maximum prison sentence of about 10 years, not counting a sentence for his August conviction in Virginia for bank and tax fraud.

Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to "broad" cooperation with the special counsel as part of his agreement.

"The consequences are potentially devastating for Manafort", said Washington attorney Shanlon Wu, who represented Manafort's ex-business associate Rick Gates before he pleaded guilty and became a star witness for prosecutors. The cases that Mueller's team brought against Manafort largely focused on his Ukrainian political consulting work, his U.S. lobbying over the last decade and the financial management of his business proceeds.

Rudy Giuliani, who represents Trump in the Russian Federation investigation, told Reuters in October that he had periodically spoken with Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, and that he believed Manafort had not provided any information to prosecutors that was damaging to the president. "So I don't think it would be unreasonable for Manafort to also hope for a pardon". He had been in the room for the Trump Tower meeting with Russians who touted they had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton; he had allegedly offered private briefings on the campaign to a Russian oligarch to whom he was indebted, according to The Washington Post; and he had overseen the Trump campaign in the months when Russian military intelligence allegedly hacked Democratic Party officials.

President Donald Trump has denied he knew about the meeting ahead of time and repeatedly called Mueller's investigation a 'witch hunt'.

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