Published: Tue, November 27, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign chair lied, broke plea agreement

Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign chair lied, broke plea agreement

Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a complaint Monday alleging that former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea deal by lying during his interviews with prosecutors.

Manafort lied "on a variety of subject matters", violating his plea agreement, prosecutors allege in the three-page filing signed by both the defense team and the prosecution.

"As the defendant has breached the plea agreement", the filing read, "there is no reason to delay his sentencing herein".

The representatives for Special Counsel Mueller did not detail what they believe Mr Manafort lied about.

Manafort was convicted on eight out of 18 counts of financial crimes including bank fraud and tax fraud in federal court in Virginia in August. Facing a second trial in D.C., he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The defendant's lawyers insist he gave information he believed to be truthful. It'll be up to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to decide whether that's the case, after taking into consideration Manafort's claim that in many meetings with the government, he didn't lie.

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".

Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for almost six months in the middle of 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and another count of obstruction of justice in a deal to avert a second trial on money laundering and illegal lobbying charges.

The charges only relate to Manafort's political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign. He also faces an additional 10 years in the Virginia case. It is not clear if these charges will now be refiled. Prosecutors said Gates, who also pleaded guilty, is cooperating in "several ongoing investigations".

How did we get here?

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.

Manafort, 69, worked for the Trump presidential campaign for five months in 2016 and was in charge when Mr Trump clinched the Republican party nomination.

Following his conviction, President Trump praised his former campaign chairman for refusing to "break" under legal pressure.

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