Paul Manafort told ‘multiple discernible lies’ to investigators: Mueller memo
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been accused of lying to investigators about five key issues, on several occasions, after signing a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to documents filed in a U.S. federal court on Friday.
Manafort, 69, has been one of the key figures in Mueller’s probe into potential Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He originally agreed to co-operate with Mueller’s team in September, after he was convicted on eight charges related to financial fraud and conspiracy.
In November however, the document states that the government informed Mueller’s team that it believed Manafort had lied in “multiple ways and on several occasions.”
The lies the report identifies primarily relate to Manafort’s interactions with suspected Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik, Kilimnik’s participation in a conspiracy to obstruct justice, a wire transfer to a firm that was working for Manafort, information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation and Manafort’s contact with Trump administration officials.
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The document filed by Mueller’s team was partially redacted, preventing Global News from learning the full scope of these statements. While the details of his contact with Kilimnik were redacted, Global News was able to learn that Manafort lied about the suspected Russian operative’s involvement in a “criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice by reaching out to two witnesses to tailor their testimony to a false narrative that would exculpate them of a Foreign Agents Registration Act violation.
When asked during a hearing on Sept. 4, whether his preceding statements about this conspiracy were truthful, Manafort admitted that Kilminik had conspired with him.
In addition, Manafort lied to Congress about a $125,000 payment made to a firm working for Manafort in 2017. The document states that Manafort has made several inconsistent statements to the government about this payment.
The document goes on to state that after providing the government with information pertinent to another investigation (the details of which were redacted), Manafort provided an exculpatory version of the events, before changing his story altogether. The exact subject of the investigation is not clear.
Lastly, after signing the plea agreement, Manafort told government officials that he had no contact with anyone in the Trump administration nor did he ever attempt to communicate with them. However, the report states that Manafort lied about these contacts.
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Manafort avoided a second trial by pleading guilty to two felony charges and agreeing to co-operate “fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly” with investigators, the plea deal said. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to charge him in connection with other alleged criminal activity including money laundering, making false statements, tax fraud, failure to register as a foreign agent and obstruction of justice.
Mueller’s team first indicated Manafort had violated the deal last week.
A tentative sentencing date has been set for March 5.
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