Mueller claims Manafort violated plea agreement by lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Mueller claims Manafort violated plea agreement by lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Mueller claims Manafort violated plea agreement by lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

In a court filing on Monday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller declared that President Donald Trump's former Campaign Chair Paul Manafort has violated his plea deal with federal prosecutors by lying multiple times to the FBI.

In the status report, which was filed after the parties had asked for a delay in the previous deadline, Manafort denied that he had not been cooperative.

The filing was an astonishing break from the bare-bones updates given by the special counsel's office in other cases where cooperators continue to help Mueller pursue Russian interference in the 2016 USA election and alleged coordination with the Trump campaign.

He was convicted in a Virginia federal court on eight counts of financial fraud.

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

But Manafort, too, called for the judge, Amy Berman Jackson, to set a sentencing date.

In September Manafort accepted the plea deal on related conspiracy charges in return for an agreement to co-operate with Mr Mueller's investigation.

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Mr Manafort's attorneys said in the same filing that Mr Manafort had met with the Government on several occasions and provided information "in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations".

Before the plea, Manafort's defenders had long insisted that he would not cooperate with Mueller and that he does not have information that would incriminate the president.

"The consequences are potentially devastating for Manafort", said Washington attorney Shanlon Wu, who represented Manafort's ex-business associate Rick Gates before he pleaded guilty and became a star witness for prosecutors.

While not a fatal blow, the failure to secure Manafort's cooperation has damaged the credibility of an individual with deep ties to Russian Federation and who prosecutors had hoped would prove to be a valuable witness, a former federal prosecutor said.

"The one thing you can do that is worse than not saying anything at all is to lie", said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in Miami. Trump has not ruled out the prospect of a pardon for Manafort. He had been in the room for the Trump Tower meeting with Russians who touted they had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton; he had allegedly offered private briefings on the campaign to a Russian oligarch to whom he was indebted, according to The Washington Post; and he had overseen the Trump campaign in the months when Russian military intelligence allegedly hacked Democratic Party officials.

Manafort is largely seen as the central figure when it comes to getting to the bottom of the collusion question, given his Ukrainian lobbying connections, his time as Trump's campaign chairman, and his presence during key moments of interest for the special counsel.

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