Ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort violated plea agreement -- special counsel

Friday, 30 Nov, 2018

The news of Manafort's lack of cooperation came in the form of a court filing by federal prosecutors on Monday.

A month later he pleaded guilty to two other criminal charges in a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He also agreed to forfeit investment accounts and multiple properties, including a condominium in the Trump Tower in NY. At his most recent court appearance, in Virginia, U.S. marshals wheeled him into court in a wheelchair. In his separate Virginia case, Manafort's potential sentencing under federal guidelines has not yet been calculated, but prosecutors have previously said he could face as much as 10 years in prison on those charges.

Trump earlier downplayed reports saying his daughter's emails didn't contain classified information and haven't been deleted, but CNN reported that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly seeking additional information.

Trump again complained that Mueller was not investigating his opponent Hillary Clinton, who the president has repeatedly insisted had colluded with Russian Federation in her losing campaign.

But the development also raised speculation that Manafort may be seeking to curry favour with Trump or protecting other associates who worked on the campaign.

Three former Trump campaign officials or advisers have pleaded guilty to misleading federal investigators: Michael T. Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, who reported to prison on Monday to serve his 14-day sentence.

"I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly", Manafort said in a statement.

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is denying that he ever met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Manafort's significance to the Mueller probe is not entirely clear.

That led to the plea deal itself. Let's bring in NPR's justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. It's unclear what exactly he's suspected of lying about, but the special counsel will elaborate in communications with the judge. He cut that deal to head off a second trial after being convicted last summer of eight felony counts related to millions of dollars he hid from the IRS in offshore accounts.

"A breach relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement".

Both cases stemmed from Manafort's political work for the former pro-Russia president of Ukraine, and undisclosed lobbying work he admitted to carrying out on behalf of Ukraine in violation of USA law. His attorneys say in the same filing that he believes he "provided truthful information".

The special counsel will be unable to rely on him as a cooperating witness in any future trials and, after calling him a liar in court papers, might hesitate to use information provided by Manafort as key evidence.

Mueller's investigators have charged a number of Trump's former aides with lying to them. Jackson already signaled her displeasure with Manafort when she ordered him detained without bail after Mueller accused him of tampering with witnesses. Now there's this. He could face much stiffer prison time because of his alleged lies to the special counsel and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Especially since he's 70 years old. Giuliani told INSIDER earlier this year that Trump would not consider whether or not to pardon his former campaign chairman until after the Russian Federation probe had concluded. "And we know it's probably about the president". He also was around during the Republican National Convention when language in the party platform on Ukraine was watered down.

While Manafort's attorneys claim that he has not actually lied to investigators, the government says otherwise, and ultimately it is the government's opinion that matters in his upcoming sentencing hearing.