The Slatest

Federal Judge Rules Manafort Breached Plea Deal by Lying to Special Counsel About Russia Contacts

Paul Manafort, then-campaign manager for Donald Trump, on the floor of the Republican National Convention July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Paul Manafort, then-campaign manager for Donald Trump, on the floor of the Republican National Convention July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors repeatedly about several aspects of Robert Mueller’s investigation despite signing a plea deal that committed Manafort to cooperating with the Russia investigation. The plea agreement stipulated that Manafort, who had already been found guilty on multiple counts of fraud in another case, “shall cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly with the Government.” District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, however, found that Manafort knowingly made false statements to the FBI and Mueller’s team in three matters even after submitting a guilty plea last September. The breach of the agreement, Jackson writes, means “the Office of Special Counsel is no longer bound by its obligations under the plea agreement, including its promise to support a reduction of the offense level in the calculation of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for acceptance of responsibility.”

“It is a matter of public record that the Office of Special Counsel has alleged that the defendant made intentionally false statements to the FBI, the OSC, and/or the grand jury in connection with five matters,” Jackson’s order states. Here’s what she found on each matter:

I. OSC [Office of the Special Counsel] has established by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant intentionally made false statements to the FBI, the OSC, and the grand jury concerning the payment by Firm A to the law firm, a matter that was material to the investigation.

II. OSC has failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that on October 16, 2018, defendant intentionally made false statements concerning Kilimnik’s role in the obstruction of justice conspiracy.

III. OSC has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant intentionally made multiple false statements to the FBI, the OSC, and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the investigation: his interactions and communications with Kilimnik.

IV. OSC has established by a preponderance of the evidence that on October 5, 2018, the defendant intentionally made false statements that were material to another DOJ investigation.

V. OSC has failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that on October 16, 2018, defendant intentionally made a false statement concerning his contacts with the administration.

Manafort’s lawyers had denied that the 69-year-old’s false statements were intentional, but the court wasn’t buying it and will include the latest round of deception in determining Manafort’s sentence, which is scheduled to be handed down March 13th.