Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing late on Dec. 7 that Trump’s one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort had breached his plea agreement with the government by telling “multiple discernible lies” in several ways and on several occasions.
Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy in September to avoid a second trial after a jury found him guilty of eight out of 18 charges related to financial and tax fraud. This latest filing amplifies a filing last month in which Mueller said Manafort had misled prosecutors following the plea deal. Mueller wants Manafort’s alleged failure to meet the terms of the plea bargain to nullify the agreement.
The document redacts some of the most sought-after details of Manafort’s alleged behavior, but it details five separately purported violations of the plea agreement. Two relate to former Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political operative who worked for Manafort in Ukraine, and whom Mueller’s team indicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice in June 2018. Mueller said in the filing that Manafort lied about his interactions with Kilimnik, but the details were blacked out.
However, in a part reproduced in full, the memo said Manafort denied conspiring with Kilimnik to tamper with witnesses after he signed the plea agreement, but when confronted, “Manafort conceded that Kilimnik had conspired with him.”
Mueller said Manafort also lied about a payment to a firm working for Manafort; changed his testimony about a matter relating to an investigation in “another jurisdiction,” and then changed it again when confronted with notes of his previous statements; and lied about remaining in contact with people in the Trump administration.
That last point appears related to whether Manafort has angled for a pardon from Trump. On Nov. 28, the president said that a pardon was “not off the table.” However, a presidential pardon wouldn’t prevent charges in state courts, which have held off on pursuing Manafort, nor restore Manafort’s forfeited property or wipe out the admissibility of his testimony, pleas, or statements to prosecutors. If he is pardoned, Manafort may be compelled to testify in other cases on the same matters, as he would face no jeopardy of self incrimination.