Trump Campaign Manager Manafort Violates Plea Deal with Robert Mueller, Court Filing Says
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s one-time campaign manager, violated his plea agreement with federal prosecutors that avoided a second trial earlier this year, said prosecutors in a new court filing on Nov. 26.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to handle an investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, alleged that Manafort continued to commit crimes after signing the plea agreement by lying to the FBI and Mueller’s team. While not listing the specifics, the filing said it was on “a variety of matters.”
Manafort’s attorneys said their client disagreed, and that Manafort said he believed he’d provided truthful information.
Because the plea agreement requires fulfillment of “each and every one” of the obligations that Manafort made and prohibits any criminal activity prior to sentencing, Mueller stated in the filing that Manafort has breached the agreement. He called for proceeding to a sentencing hearing. Manafort agreed to proceed as well.
Mueller also noted that the guilty pleas stand as a result, while an agreement by prosecutors to a reduced sentence based on cooperation was no longer required.
Manafort could still face a retrial on charges that a jury deadlocked on earlier this year. A judge in October demanded Mueller’s team decide whether to drop those charges or retry them, and the special counsel agreed to drop them to move forward with a Feb. 9, 2019, sentencing hearing. Mueller had delayed to see how well Manafort cooperated. However, the judge dropped the charges without prejudice, which allows them to be re-filed.
A jury found Manafort guilty of eight of 18 counts of tax and bank fraud in a federal trial in New York on Aug. 21.
A trial scheduled for September in D.C. included charges of money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and obstruction of justice related to his work as a political consultant for Ukraine while it was headed by a Russian-aligned president.
Manafort pleaded guilty to two of those charges on Sept. 14 to avoid trial, and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. He also agreed to forfeit property estimated at $22 million.