Paul Manafort Breached Plea Deal by Lying to Mueller’s Team, Prosecutors Say


Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office "on a variety of subject matters" since his plea deal earlier this year, thereby violating the agreement, Mueller said in a court filing submitted Monday night, while adding that Manafort claims he's been truthful.

Even though Mueller's team alleges he's breached his plea agreement, Manafort must comply with the prosecutors' demands going forward.

"As the defendant has breached the plea agreement", the filing read, "there is no reason to delay his sentencing herein".

The court filing indicated that Mueller's team also had suffered a potential setback, after gaining access to a witness with potential knowledge of several key events relevant to the probe during his tenure with Donald Trump's presidential campaign from March to August 2016, including a Trump Tower meeting attended by a Russian lawyer and the Republican National Convention.

A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the United States and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in the plea bargain with Mr Mueller. Monday's filing in Washington federal court was eagerly anticipated after the sides sought a 10-day extension to report on Manafort's cooperation - a tight window that led some observers to speculate that Manafort had delivered information that could lead to charges against others in Trump's circle.

It's a dire turn for Manafort, who was accused of witness tampering, pleaded guilty to a range of charges laid by Mueller and finally agreed to cooperate to avert the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

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"He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's characterisation or that he has breached the agreement", his lawyers said. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges. Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt.

Prosecutors dismissed bank fraud charges as part of the deal - charges that could possibly be refiled.

Deadlocked charges from the previous trial were to be dismissed if there was "successful co-operation" with the special counsel.

How did we get here?

The cases that Mueller's team brought against Manafort largely focused on his Ukrainian political consulting work, his USA lobbying over the last decade and the financial management of his business proceeds.

Following his conviction, President Trump praised his former campaign chairman for refusing to "break" under legal pressure.