Federal prosecutors requested a judge on Monday to issue a sentence for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort for lying to the FBI and investigators working with special counsel Robert Mueller. According to them, the lies violated his plea agreement to cooperate with the Russian collusion investigation. Manafort was convicted in August this year for eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. Later on that month, it emerged that he had agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors of the Mueller team.
Manafort also pleaded guilty to two new counts after that and also admitted his guilt in ten other counts that were outstanding in a previous trial in Virginia. However, it turns out he didn’t hold his end of the deal. According to documents filed on Monday by the Mueller team, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the special counsel and the FBI on wide-ranging issues. However, the document didn’t reveal what exactly the 69-year-old lied about. The special counsel and his team did reveal that they will be filing a more detailed “sentencing submission” that will presumably shed more light on the lies that Manafort told and the crimes he has committed.
Manafort’s attorneys said that the allegations are not true. They claim that after signing the plea agreement, Manafort met with prosecutors and government officials numerous times to answer all the questions asked truthfully. They went on to note that they strongly believe that the information provided by Trump’s former campaign manager has been very useful to the investigation. The lawyers think there was no breach of the plea agreement as alleged by the special counsel office.
The two counts that Manafort pleaded guilty to back in September carry a maximum sentence of ten years and six years of supervised release. He could also face fines of up to $500,000. However, the plea agreement didn’t amount to a guilty plea in ten other charges that were brought forward in Virginia. But the agreement guaranteed that these ten charges that involved issues with bank fraud would be dropped. Investigators may still assume admission of guilt in these ten charges since that they were part of the plea agreement. If that’s the case, they could start pursuing convictions too on the charges. In addition to this, if it’s proved that the plea agreement was broken, the special counsel and his team will have no obligation to inform the court of any valuable cooperation from Manafort since the agreement was signed.
Manafort is not the only Trump aide that could face jail time. Just the other day, a federal judge ordered George Papadopoulos, a former Trump aide, to report to jail on Monday to serve a two-week sentence for lying to federal prosecutors. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year and was sentenced to 14 days in jail. The Mueller probe has indeed been heating up despite massive pressure from the president. Reports indicate that the probe is coming to an end and a full report will soon come out.