Special Counsel Says Paul Manafort 'Breached' Plea Deal, Lied to FBI
Lawyers working for special counsel Robert Mueller told a federal judge Monday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had "breached the plea agreement" he reached with the government and that the judge should prepare to sentence him.
Government attorneys said Manafort committed new federal crimes "by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters." The special counsel team's court filing provided no details about the prevarication.
Manafort made a deal with federal authorities in September, a day before jury selection was scheduled to begin in Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty to two conspiracy charges that spanned dozens of alleged crimes and more than a decade, through his time as an international lobbyist and his unpaid work on the Trump campaign in 2016. He also agreed to forfeit investment accounts and multiple properties, including a condominium in the Trump Tower in New York.
The terms of the deal called for Manafort to cooperate "fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly" with the investigation into Russian election interference and whether any Americans assisted in the Kremlin's attack on the 2016 presidential election.
For their part, Manafort's attorneys said he believes he has offered "useful information" and doesn't agree with the government assertion that he breached the plea agreement.
Manafort and his lawyers had been spotted meeting with investigators in the weeks after his plea deal. At his most recent court appearance, in Virginia, U.S. marshals wheeled him into court in a wheelchair. A person close to Manafort said he had a problem with his diet in the detention center in Alexandria, Va.
President Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, playing down Manafort's role in the campaign. But Manafort attended a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Russians, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner that has become a focus of the special counsel probe. Manafort also played a major role at the Republican National Convention in 2016, when language regarding Ukraine was watered down in the party platform.
Earlier Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos reported to a prison in Wisconsin to serve a 14-day sentence for lying to investigators.
Lawyers involved in the investigation have raised the prospect that Papadopoulos, Manafort and others who have been charged ultimately could receive presidential pardons.
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