Special counsel Robert Mueller charges former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to the FBI and his team in their investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
But Manafort denies doing so, and both sides want a federal judge to sentence him immediately.
Mueller’s office, in court documents filed Monday evening, claim Manafort ‘committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters.’
Special counsel Robert Mueller charges former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (above) violated his plea agreement by lying to the FBI and his team
The former Trump campaign manager had made a deal with Robert Mueller (above) to turn on President Trump and help the special counsel with his Russia investigation
‘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,’ prosecutors wrote.
They ask ‘in light of recent developments’ the court ‘schedule sentencing in this matter.’
They did not elaborate on what Manafort lied about.
They do argue this leaves Manafort exposed to the possibility of a more severe prison sentence under federal guidelines.
Manafort’s defense team said in response: ‘He believes he has provided truthful information’ and tried to ‘live up to his cooperation obligations.’
They also requested a sentencing date.
‘Given the conflict in the parties’ positions, there is no reason to delay the sentencing herein, and he asks the Court to set a sentencing date in this matter,’ they said.
The stunning development on Monday evening leaves questions about the state of Mueller’s investigation.
Manafort, 69, was thought to be a star witness in the probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, given his knowledge of President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Trump has repeatedly denied collusion of any kind.
Manafort, who has remained in jail throughout this, has met with prosecutors at least nine times but Monday’s filing indicates that – despite those hours with him – investigators may not have been able to garner any information they could verify.
He entered a plea agreement in September in the hope of shaving time off his prison sentence for tax and bank fraud.
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 dismissed bank fraud charges as part of the deal – charges that could possibly be refiled.
As part of the plea deal, Manafort agreed to provide information on a ‘broad’ array of topics in the hopes of getting a lighter sentence in his August conviction in Virginia on bank and tax fraud.
He was convicted on eight counts of bank fraud and tax fraud in August and then made a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second trial in Washington D.C. on additional charges.
Prosecutors filed new documents in the case on Monday night
Manafort’s plea agreement was supposed to cap his prison sentence to 10 years.
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.’
In addition, he will give up a brownstone he owned in Brooklyn, New York, his SoHo, Manhattan, condo, and an apartment in Chinatown. He must also forfeit two bank accounts at Federal Savings Bank and an account at Capital One.
The latest development could indicate a set back for Mueller’s investigation if Manafort had not been cooperating.
Manafort served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager
Paul Manafort knew about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin
The former Trump campaign manager knew about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort himself and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who claimed to have dirt on Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump has denied he knew about the meeting ahead of time and repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation a ‘witch hunt.’
That gathering at Trump Tower had become a central focus of Mueller’s look into what role Russian played in the 2016 presidential election.