In Brief

Trump ex-aide Paul Manafort voids plea deal by lying

Judge rules former Trump campaign chief ‘intentionally’ lied to Mueller investigation

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, a federal court judge has ruled.

Manafort’s deceptions leave him in breach of the cooperation deal he struck with prosecutors, and could add years to his prison sentence.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that Manafort had lied to investigators, the FBI and a grand jury about his contacts with a Russian associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, during Trump’s presidential campaign.

Prosecutors from Mueller’s office said Manafort’s lies about his contact with Kilimnik go “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating”.

The Washington Post reports that Manafort also made “false statements that were material to another Justice Department investigation whose focus has not been described in public filings in Manafort’s case”.

Manafort will still be bound by what he agreed to as part of the plea deal he made with prosecutors. However Mueller’s office would be “free from its contractual obligations in the plea, like asking for a reduced sentence for him because of his cooperation”, says CNN.

Manafort is facing up to ten years in prison over two separate cases, which include his guilty plea in September 2018 on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States, violating lobbying laws and obstructing justice by witness tampering.

Judge Jackson said she is now considering whether Manafort will be eligible to serve both sentences consecutively, meaning the former Trump campaign chief, who is 69 years old, could face up to 20 years in prison.

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