Mueller: Ex-Trump campaign chair lied, broke plea agreement

30 November, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Mueller says Manafort breached plea deal by mendacity			 0					By		Marta Subat

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has violated his plea agreement by lying to the FBI and special counsel investigators after pleading guilty to federal charges, according to a court filing.

The breakdown in the plea deal means that Manafort will nearly certainly be hit with a harsher sentence - both for the crimes he pleaded guilty to in Washington and for his conviction in August in a separate case in Virginia on bank and tax fraud. He also disagreed that he breached his plea agreement.

In the same submission Mr Manafort denied the claim by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether any collaboration occurred between the Trump campaign and Russian state during the 2016 Presidential election.

Trump says that when the Mueller investigation ends it will become evident that people were treated "horribly" and "viciously" and that people's lives are being ruined for refusing to lie. "They are a disgrace to our Nation and don't care how many lives" they ruin.

The White House has insisted that the guilty plea had absolutely nothing to do with President Trump.

ABC News reported earlier this month that tensions had been rising between Manafort and Mueller's team over Manafort's level of cooperation.

While not a fatal blow, the dissolution of Manafort's plea agreement means Mueller is losing the contributions of a witness with deep ties to Russian Federation and who ran the Trump campaign as it took off in mid-2016. Since before Manafort's plea, there have been persistent suggestions that Trump might pardon Manafort, something hinted at by the president's lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

If Trump were to go ahead and issue a pardon to Manafort, his actions could be viewed as obstruction of justice, especially if Manafort and members of Trump's legal team (or Trump himself) were in communication about a potential pardon.

Justice Department veterans are flummoxed that lawyers representing Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, are still in touch with Trump's lawyers following Manafort's guilty plea. He cut that deal to head off a second trial after being convicted of eight felony counts related to millions of dollars he hid from the IRS in offshore accounts. The deal required Manafort to cooperate with investigators and barred him from engaging in criminal conduct. In fact, it was so obvious that Judge T.S. Ellis threatened to throw out all charges against Manafort back in May over the special counsel's role in prosecuting these specific charges.

Mueller's office asserted that "the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement", freed them of any obligation from the plea agreement.

Mueller's 18-month-old investigation has led to charges against 32 people, including 26 Russians.

The stepped-up attacks on Mueller have come the week after Trump submitted answers to the special counsel about his knowledge of Russian interference in the presidential election.

Mueller has meticulously pursued cases in which Trump associates have lied to investigators, often using such charges as leverage to persuade them to cooperate with prosecutors. He faces multiple years in prison.


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