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Judge rules Paul Manafort violated plea deal with Mueller



US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Wednesday that Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, lied to prosecutors in three out of five instances outlined by the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

Manafort lied after striking a plea deal with Mueller’s team last year, following a conviction on several counts of tax and bank fraud.

Jackson’s ruling said that Manafort made false statements to prosecutors about:

  • A $125,000 payment made to a firm in 2017 related to a debt that Manafort had incurred.
  • His interactions with he former Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik and Kilimnik’s role in the alleged conspiracy to obstruct justice by trying to influence the testimony of two witnesses in February.
  • Information that was “pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation.”

A late November court filing from Mueller’s office accused Manafort of lying to investigators from the special counsel’s office and the FBI “on a variety of subject matters” in the two months he was nominally a formal cooperating witness in the Russia probe.

The filing said Manafort “thus relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement,” since the terms of the plea deal required Manafort to agree not to commit crimes during the course of his cooperation.

Jackson’s ruling on Wednesday did not make a determination on whether Manafort “will receive credit for his acceptance of responsibility” in connection to federal sentencing guidelines, adding that the court would decide that when Manafort went to his final sentencing hearing.

Manafort has been charged twice in the Mueller probe for offenses relating to his years of work lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party in the US.

Manafort was first charged in December 2017 in Washington, DC, on 12 offenses, including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and obstruction of justice. He and his deputy Rick Gates were charged again in the Eastern District of Virginia on 18 counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts in February 2018.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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