Court Battles

Mueller considers new charges, another trial for Manafort

Special counsel Robert Mueller is considering bringing new charges against President Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for allegedly breaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Government attorney Andrew Weissmann told a federal district court judge on Friday that prosecutors have not yet decided whether to bring new charges against Manafort for breaching the deal. Those new charges could include obstruction of justice.

{mosads}The government is also considering seeking a new trial on charges in Washington, D.C., that were initially dropped as part of the plea deal. Prosecutors said there were a number of obligations in the plea agreement that the government is now relieved of.

District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, ordered the government to provide a report by Dec. 7 detailing how Manafort breached the agreement. She scheduled March 5 as a target date for Manafort’s sentencing.

Berman Jackson said she will likely hold a hearing in mid-to-late January to determine whether Manafort breached his plea deal. She said a finding that Manafort obstructed justice could have a bearing on his sentence. 

Manafort agreed to plead guilty in September to charges related to his foreign lobbying work and fully cooperate with the Russia investigation to avoid a second trial on charges stemming from Mueller’s probe. A jury in Virginia had recently convicted him of eight counts of bank and tax fraud when he agreed to the deal.

But in a court filing Monday, Mueller said Manafort had “committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters.” 

Manafort’s defense attorneys denied the allegation, saying the defendant believes he has provided truthful information.

Given the dispute, both sides agreed cooperation had reached an impasse and asked the judge not to delay sentencing.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Mueller’s team thinks Manafort lied about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former associate in Ukraine, who the FBI believes has intelligence ties to Russia.

Manafort’s defense team has until Dec. 12 to file a preliminary response to the government’s forthcoming report to say whether they would like discovery documents pertaining to the allegations that the plea deal has be been breached.

Manafort, 69, did not to attend Friday’s court hearing. He waived his right to appear in court earlier this week.

He is facing at least 10 years in prison for his crimes.

Updated at 11:53 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Paul Manafort Robert Mueller
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