Mueller Makes a Big Move Against Manafort

Accuses him of violating plea deal by repeatedly lying
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2018 3:06 AM CST
Updated Nov 27, 2018 6:53 AM CST
In this May 23, 2018 photo, Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the Federal District Court after a hearing in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
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(Newser) – The Robert Mueller investigation just lost an important witness—and Paul Manafort may have lost additional years of freedom. In a court filing Monday, the special counsel's team said President Trump's former campaign chairman had violated a plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators. The team said Manafort had "committed federal crimes" by lying about "a variety of subject matters" after he had pledged to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with investigators, the AP reports. The filing suggests Mueller's team doesn't consider Manafort a credible witness—and in any case, after publicly calling him a liar, "they could hardly call him to testify," the New York Times notes.

The court filing stated that "the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies" will be outlined in a sentencing submission from the government, the Washington Post reports. Manafort's lawyers say he "believes he provided truthful information" to Mueller's investigators. Manafort, currently being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia detention center, cannot withdraw his guilty plea under the terms of the deal, though he can now be prosecuted for additional crimes—including the 10 felony charges that were dropped when he made the agreement. Prosecutors had also agreed to ask for a reduction of his sentence if he provided "substantial assistance." Manafort is expected to be sentenced to at least 10 years for crimes including conspiracy to obstruct justice. (Manafort looked very different at a hearing last month.)

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