Judge rules Manafort intentionally lied multiple times to FBI, Mueller

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills Mueller subpoenas former Cambridge Analytica employee MORE intentionally lied to the FBI and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE multiple times in the course of his cooperation with the government.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Wednesday evening that Manafort intentionally misled investigators on a range of subjects, including his contacts with a Russian business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, and a separate Justice Department investigation being run out of another district.

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Jackson, who is overseeing Manafort’s Washington, D.C., case, ruled that the special counsel “established by a preponderance of the evidence” that Manafort intentionally lied about a payment made to a firm working for him; his interactions with Kilimnik, a Russian who is suspected of having ties to Kremlin intelligence, and during the course of the unknown Justice Department investigation.

Jackson wrote in particular that Manafort’s lies about the payment and his contacts with Kilimnik were “material to the investigation.”

However, the judge said Mueller failed to establish sufficient evidence that Manafort intentionally lied about his contacts with the Trump administration or Kilimnik’s role in a scheme to tamper with witnesses.

Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in D.C. on March 13.

“This order does not address the question of whether the defendant will receive credit for his acceptance of responsibility in connection with the calculation of the Sentencing Guidelines or how any other Guideline provision will apply to this case,” Jackson wrote in the order Wednesday.

“Those issues, which depend on the consideration of a number of additional factors, will be determined at sentencing,” Jackson wrote.

Manafort’s attorneys, meanwhile, have denied that he lied to the special counsel.

“Mr. Manafort did not lie,” they wrote in a redacted memo also filed Wednesday. “Despite the considerable efforts of the Office of Special Counsel … it cannot prove what did not happen.”

The filings followed a sealed hearing in Manafort's case Wednesday afternoon regarding the lying accusations.

Manafort was indicted on several federal charges stemming from his lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine back in October 2017 in connection with the special counsel’s investigation.

He was convicted of bank and tax fraud in a trial in Alexandria, Va., over the summer before pleading guilty to two separate charges in order to avert a second federal trial in Washington, D.C.

As part of that agreement, Manafort, a witness to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, agreed to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation.

However, Mueller late last year accused Manafort of lying to FBI investigators on multiple subjects in breach of his plea agreement with the special counsel. Manafort’s attorneys consistently contested the allegations, arguing he told the truth to the best of his ability and did not intentionally lie.

Manafort was seen as a potentially valuable witness for Mueller in his investigation of Russia's election interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Manafort worked for nearly half a year on the campaign before resigning in August 2016 over revelations of his lobbying on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

His former business partner, Richard Gates, who also worked on the Trump campaign, has also pleaded guilty and been cooperating in the investigation.

Gates and Manafort are two of six Trump associates to be charged in connection with the investigation. The special counsel has also indicted more than two dozen Russians for using social media and hacking to meddle in the election.

However, none of those charges have alleged a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE, meanwhile, has derided the investigation as a partisan "witch hunt" and denied allegations of collusion.

Manafort is expected to be sentenced separately in Virginia sometime later this year.

--Updated 8 p.m.