Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached plea deal by lying to FBI, prosecutors say
Posted On July 14, 2020
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied to the FBI and special counsel investigators after pleading guilty to federal charges, breaching his plea agreement, according to a court filing on Monday.
Manafort said in the same filing he disagreed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s assertion that he lied to investigators.
Both the special counsel and Manafort’s lawyers agreed there was no reason to delay his sentencing and asked the court to set a date for that.
Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, said in the filing that after signing a 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."
Mueller said in the filing that those lies breached Manafort’s plea agreement.
Manafort’s attorneys said in the same filing that Manafort had met with the government on several occasions and provided information "in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations."
They said Manafort disagreed with the characterisation that he had breached the agreement.
The breakdown in the plea deal raises the prospect that Manafort is seeking to protect others who worked on Trump’s campaign and to curry favor with the president, said former federal prosecutor David Weinstein.
"It seems to me he’s angling for the pardon," he said.
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.
Profile | Paul Manafort
He attended a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 with a group of Russians offering damaging information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost in an upset to Mr Trump in the presidential vote that November.
Since September this year when he took a plea deal in return for reduced charges, Manafort has been cooperating with Mueller’s inquiry.
Russia denies US allegations it hacked Democratic Party emails and ran a disinformation campaign, largely on social media. Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt.