Mueller accuses Manafort of breaking plea agreement by lying

Minnie Murray
November 27, 2018

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

The torpedoing of Manafort's plea deal, disclosed in a court filing Monday, also results in special counsel Robert Mueller's team losing a co-operating witness from the top of Donald Trump's presidential campaign who was present for several key episodes under investigation.

He pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy - allegations that Manafort lied to the Department of Justice about his work for a foreign government and that he obstructed justice by attempting to influence potential witnesses in the case. Prosecutors said they will file a report that "sets forth the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies".

Both sides asked Jackson to sentence Manafort without delay.

"He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterization or that he has breached the agreement", the filing reported.

The plea deal Manafort agreed to would allow him to serve only 10 years of the possible 80 he was facing, as well as negate the need for a second trial. He pleaded guilty a month later in Washington and began meeting with USA investigators while he was locked up in jail.


Manafort's plea deal stipulates: 'If prosecutors determine that Manafort had failed to cooperate fully, has intentionally given false, misleading or incomplete information or testimony, he will not be released from his pleas of guilty but the Government will be released from its obligations'.

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant ran the Trump campaign.

What exactly this has to do with Mueller's investigation of alleged President Donald Trump's "Russian collusion" has not yet exactly been made clear, considering that the charges against Manafort have no connection to the 2016 election, deal with Ukraine and not Russia, and the fact that even within the scope of Manafort's lobbying efforts he pushed for a pro-EU and pro-NATO agenda.

Without a pardon, Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison, experts said. 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.

Mr Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt.

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