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PAUL MANAFORT LIED TO PROSECUTORS…JUDGE RULES

Donald Trump’s former election campaign chief Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to prosecutors, a US judge says.

US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort “made multiple false statements” to the FBI, Mr Mueller’s office and a grand jury.

Mr Mueller leads a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Manafort has pleaded guilty to some charges, avoiding a separate trial.

He was convicted of financial fraud in August, relating to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

He then accepted a plea deal on other charges in return for co-operating with Mr Mueller’s investigation.

In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Berman Jackson said there was evidence that showed Manafort had lied about three different topics, including his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant. Prosecutors claim Mr Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence.

However, the judge cleared Manafort, 69, of allegations that he lied on two other subjects.

The verdict means that Manafort – who has been held in a detention centre in Virginia since June – could now potentially face harsher sentences or have charges against him re-filed.

Last year, Mr Mueller said that Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters” after signing the plea deal.

Last August, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts.

A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the US and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plea bargain with Mr Mueller. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges.

It was the first criminal trial arising from the Department of Justice’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

 

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