Ex-Trump campaign chair lied, broke plea agreement, says Mueller

Mueller says Manafort violated plea agreement by lying to investigators

Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort repeatedly lied to the FBI and investigators in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, breaching his plea agreement with the prosecutors, Mueller said in a report to a federal judge.

Manafort said in the same filing that he disagreed with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's assertion that he had lied, but both sides agreed the impasse meant that the court should move ahead and sentence him for his crimes.

He was convicted on eight counts of bank fraud and tax fraud in August and then made a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second trial in Washington D.C. on additional charges.

Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for almost six months in the middle of 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and another count of obstruction of justice in a deal to avert a second trial on money laundering and illegal lobbying charges.

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But federal prosecutors on Monday said he violated the pact and asked a judge to sentence him.

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Under an agreement with prosecutors, Manafort faces a maximum prison sentence of about 10 years, not counting a sentence for his August conviction in Virginia for bank and tax fraud.

"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. "Manafort has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations". Large-scale criminal conspiracy investigations are often built around prosecutors' ability to turn criminals into cooperators, who guide them to other, more significant targets or testify against their former colleagues in court. The cases that Mueller's team brought against Manafort largely focused on his Ukrainian political consulting work, his United States lobbying over the last decade and the financial management of his business proceeds.

"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.

Without a pardon, Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison, experts said.

Russian Federation denies US allegations it hacked Democratic Party emails and ran a disinformation campaign, largely on social media.

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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