Law & the Courts

Mueller Team to Judge: Manafort Deserves No Credit for Cooperating

Paul Manafort attends a meeting at Trump Tower in August 2017. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s deputy, Andrew Weissman, told a federal judge Friday that despite former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s cooperation with the Mueller probe, Manafort should not receive leniency when he is sentenced next month because he violated the terms of his plea deal.

Weismann told Judge Amy Berman Jackson at the hearing in Washington, D.C. that Manafort violated the terms of his plea agreement by lying to federal investigators, but stipulated that the special counsel’s office does not plan to bring additional criminal charges against him for lying.

Federal prosecutors allege that Manafort, after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy in Washington last September, lied about the nature of a $125,000 payment he received in 2017 and about his contacts with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik.

Manafort’s attorneys accidentally revealed in a poorly redacted court filing that their client shared internal Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the campaign. But they continue to maintain that their client unintentionally omitted information about the payment and his contacts with Kilimnik while being interviewed by investigators.

“We believe that whether there was a breach contends on whether or not he intentionally lied,” said defense attorney Richard Westling, according to NBC News. “He did not intentionally lie.”

Prosecutors, meanwhile, claimed Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” that do not qualify as “mere memory lapses.”

At the Friday hearing, Jackson said she could not sentence Manafort until the question of whether he intentionally lied to investigators is resolved. She scheduled a closed-door hearing with prosecutors and Manafort’s attorneys on February 4 to address that question.

Manafort will also be sentenced on February 8 in the case pending against him in Virginia, where he pled guilty in August to a number of bank-fraud and tax-evasion charges.

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