Manafort lied after pleading guilty, Mueller’s team says
WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started to cooperate in the Russia probe, prosecutors alleged Monday.
Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters,” violating his plea agreement, prosecutors said in a three-page filing signed by both the defense team and prosecution. Both sides ask the judge to now move his case toward sentencing.
Manafort states as part of the filing that he does not agree with prosecutor’s description.
“He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement,” the document states.
The special counsel’s office says it will provide more details at a later date.
The filing on Monday was an astonishing break from the bare-bones updates given by the special counsel’s office in other cooperators’ cases. It indicates that not only did Manafort speak extensively with the Justice Department prosecutors for their investigation, but they also believe they were able to verify or refute information he gave them.
Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering on September 14.
Manafort, though he has not made public statements since then, was thought to be the star cooperator in the special counsel’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. The former Trump campaign chairman has met with prosecutors at least nine times, amounting to hours of discussions about what he knows.
As part of his plea deal, Manafort admitted to committing a host of money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes and fraud, giving the federal prosecutors ample leverage over him.
He has been held in a Virginia jail since June.
When he was last seen in public, in a Virginia federal courtroom about a month ago, Manafort was in a wheelchair and suffering from a health issue similar to gout. He’ll be sentenced in February in his criminal case in Virginia, which he took to trial and lost.