President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on multiple occasions and about multiple different subjects, according to a new court filing. The Hill reports that federal prosecutors and Manafort’s defense attorneys filed a joint status report that says that Manafort breached his agreement, made in mid-September, which should relieve prosecutors of all the terms agreed to in the plea.
“The plea agreement provides that if the defendant fails to fulfill completely ‘each and every one’ of his obligations under this agreement, or ‘engages in any criminal activity prior to sentencing,’ the defendant will be in breach of the agreement,” said the court documents. “After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel’s Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement.”
The report doesn’t specify what Manafort lied about, but it does state that there would be a new filing that describes “the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies.” Manafort disagrees with the report’s assessment.
“After signing the plea agreement, Manafort met with the government on numerous occasions and answered the government’s questions. Manafort has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations. He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement,” the joint filing states.
The development comes after months of Manafort’s cooperation with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. In August, Manafort was also convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud by a jury in Virginia.
Later, Manafort pleaded guilty to witness tampering and conspiracy involving money laundering, tax fraud, lying and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts in mid-September. As part of that plea, the former campaign manager could have received lighter punishment for his part in any crimes in exchange for cooperating with the Mueller investigation. Charges against Manafort for bank fraud were also dismissed as part of the plea, which means that prosecutors could refile those charges.
Attorneys have asked the judge to schedule sentencing given the new information.
“As the defendant has breached the plea agreement, there is no reason to delay his sentencing herein,” the joint status report said.
Without leniency from his plea deal, Manafort could face up to 10 years in prison. He is also scheduled for sentencing in the bank and tax fraud case on February 8. He has been held in Virginia since that trial began in June.
The White House has not commented on the new report, though President Donald Trump has sought to distance himself from Manafort in recent months, claiming that he only worked with Manafort for a “very short time.”
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018