National Security

Mueller says Manafort violated plea agreement

Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a new filing Monday that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, violated his plea agreement by lying to federal prosecutors.

“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,” Mueller’s team said in a joint status report with Paul Manafort’s defense attorneys filed late Monday.

Mueller’s prosecutors asked the judge to schedule a date for sentencing.

{mosads}Manafort was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud over the summer in a separate case in Northern Virginia and agreed to cooperate with Mueller in September in order to avert a second federal trial in Washington, D.C.

As part of the agreement, Manafort pleaded guilty to two felony charges related to his foreign lobbying efforts and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He had been working with the special counsel for roughly 2 1/2 months.

Manafort, who served on Trump’s campaign for six months, was seen as a crucial witness in Mueller’s inquiry into whether anyone on the campaign colluded with Moscow.

He was one of three Trump associates who attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that was arranged by Donald Trump Jr., who was offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent.

However, Manafort’s attorneys said in their own portion of the filing that he met with Mueller’s officials “numerous times” following his plea deal and that he believes his answers to be truthful and not constituting a breach of the agreement.

“He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement,” the filing states. “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.”

The government said it would explain in detail in a later filing ahead of sentencing Manafort’s crimes and lies, including those he told after signing the plea agreement.

The filing notes that the breach relieves the government of any obligations under the plea agreement, including promises to seek a lighter sentence for Manafort.

Manafort is one of several Trump associates ensnared in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference. Others who have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate include former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Richard Gates, Manafort’s former business partner who also worked on the campaign and briefly on the presidential transition.

Papadopoulos reported to jail on Monday. Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced next month. And Gates continues to cooperate in the investigation.

Monday’s developments punctuate weeks of speculation that Mueller is nearing the final stages in his investigation. Last week, President Trump responded to written questions from the special counsel on collusion. Mueller has also sought an in-person interview with the president, though negotiations between Trump’s lawyers and the special counsel on the prospect have not yielded progress.

Manafort, who has been residing in jail, is separately scheduled to be sentenced in Virginia in February.

-Updated 7:36 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. George Papadopoulos Hillary Clinton Paul Manafort Plea bargain Robert Mueller Trials of Paul Manafort

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