Judge rules Manafort intentionally lied to Mueller’s office

Paul Manafort. Photo: Twitter/Paul Manafort

Feb. 14 (UPI) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, breaking his plea agreement.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that Manafort “made multiple false statements to the FBI, the OSC and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the investigation” into interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election, when he worked for Trump.

Jackson’s ruling stated that Muller’s office had established “by a preponderance of the evidence” that Manafort intentionally lied in four out of five instances that it had laid out in December.

She ruled that Manafort made false statements that were “material” to another Department of Justice investigation, lied about money he received for legal fees and lied about whether he was in contact with Trump administration officials as recently as the beginning of 2018, nearly two years after he resigned as campaign chairman.

Mueller also accused Manafort of lying when he said associate Konstantin Kilimnik was not involved in witness tampering after Manafort’s indictment in 2017. Mueller has accused Kilimnik of having ties to Russian intelligence and the hacking of Democrats during the 2016 campaign.

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Jackson found that Mueller’s team had proved Manafort lied about his interactions and communications with Kilimnik, but couldn’t prove if he intentionally lied about Kilimnik’s role in the obstruction of justice conspiracy.

Manafort entered a plea agreement with the Mueller team, saying he would cooperate with prosecutors in his Washington, D.C., money laundering and foreign lobbying case on Sept. 14.

Jackson’s ruling cited a portion of the agreement noting that the lies would constitute a breach of the agreement.

“Your client understands and agrees that, if after entering this Agreement, [he] fails specifically to perform or to fulfill completely each and every one of [his] obligations under this Agreement, or engages in any criminal activity prior to sentencing or during his cooperation …, [he] will have breached this Agreement,” it stated.

Manafort is set to be sentenced in March, but Jackson said the ruling does not address “the question of whether the defendant will receive credit for his acceptance of responsibility” in sentencing guidelines.

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