Judge finds that Paul Manafort lied to special counsel

By Clare Hymes and Rob Legare

/ CBS News

Manafort allegedly shared data with Russian operative

Judge Amy Berman Jackson has found that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying to the FBI, a federal grand jury and the special counsel. "[T]he Office of Special Counsel is no longer bound by its obligations under the plea agreement," her ruling Wednesday hearing said.

As a result, the special counsel is also released from its promise to support a reduced sentence for Manafort. The government is also allowed to file additional charges against Manafort if it chooses. At this point, the government does not plan to do so.

Jackson ruled that Manafort lied to the government about three out of the five allegations brought by the government during the period when he was supposed to be cooperating. Since November 2017, Jackson has kept the case under a gag order, banning the government and lawyers for Manafort and his former associate Rick Gates from speaking to the press, in order to prevent the jury from being tainted.

Manafort, who was found guilty of financial crimes including bank fraud and lying on his tax returns in an earlier trial in August 2018, pleaded guilty to two felonies and soon afterward agreed to cooperate with the government in order to avoid what his second trial in Washington soon afterward.

The special counsel accused Manafort of lying to federal prosecutors on a "variety" of subjects, though he was required by his plea agreement to cooperate "fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly."

In particular, Manafort was found to be lying about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, who ran Manafort's office in Kiev. But the nature of those allegations is not known because the material in the filing related to Kilimnik remains heavily redacted.

Jackson was unconvinced by the special counsel's claim that Manafort lied about Kilimnik's role in the obstruction of justice conspiracy. She also did not find that the government had proven that he intentionally lied about his communications with anyone in the Trump administration.

Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, was indicted in June. And Manafort has admitted he conspired with Kilimnik to obstruct justice.

Manafort was also found to have made false statements related to another Justice Department investigation.

The court is expected to release a transcript of the proceedings by Friday.

First published on February 13, 2019

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