Paul Manafort: Mueller alleges five key lies by ex-Trump campaign manager in latest court filing

Robert Mueller has accused Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort of lying over five key issues – including his contacts with Trump administration officials – after entering a deal to cooperate with the Russia investigation.

“In his interviews with the Special Counsel’s Office and the FBI, Manafort told multiple discernible lies — these were not instances of mere memory lapses,” Mr Mueller’s office said in the filing citing “independent documentary and testimonial evidence” and electronic records. Manafort has denied lying.

Manafort tried to hide the fact that he had contact with “an administration official” inside the White House as late as May 2018, according to Mueller’s filing, which was partially redacted and did not specify what Manafort had discussed with the White House.

Mr Mueller, who is leading the federal investigation into Russian election meddling in 2016 and possible collusion with Trump campaign officials, had been given until Friday to give a judge more information about why he had accused Manafort of breaching a plea agreement by lying.

According to the filing, Manafort also lied about his interactions with a former business partner and Russian-Ukranian political consultant Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to have possible ties to Russian intelligence services. Mr Mueller also accuses Manafort of lying about Kilimnick’s participation in an alleged conspiracy to tailor the testimony of two witnesses.

Much of the filing involving Kilimnick is redacted, which may mean that that part of the investigation is still ongoing.

The other alleged lies involve the circumstances surrounding a $125,000 payment to a firm working for Manafort, and the fact that Manafort also provided investigators with shifting accounts about information relevant to another Department of Justice investigation. A part of the document relating to the $125,000 payment is also redacted.

Manafort cut a plea deal in September and agreed to plead guilty to two felonies. It headed off a second trial in Washington DC for Manafort which was related to his Ukrainian political consulting and unregistered foreign lobbying.

At an earlier trial in Virginia Manafort was convicted of eight financial crimes related to his lobbying, while the jury could not reach a decision on 10 other counts.

The filing shows that Manafort sat for 12 meetings with special counsel investigators, including three times prior to the plea agreement. 

Manafort also testified twice before a federal grand jury.

The filing was one of three major court documents that was released on Friday about former Trump associates. Federal prosecutors from New York have asked a judge to sentence Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer, to a “substantial” prison term for paying an adult film star hush money on Mr Trump’s behalf and evading taxes.

Cohen, who has been cooperating with Mr Mueller’s probe, pleaded guilty to financial crimes in August in New York, and to a separate charge of lying to Congress in a case disclosed by Mr Mueller last week.

Prosecutors in both those cases were required to submit on Friday separate memos on Cohen’s cooperation to US District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan, who will decide Cohen’s sentence on 12 December.

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The New York prosecutors said Cohen should receive some credit for cooperating with Mr Mueller but noted he had not entered into a cooperation agreement with their office. They said his sentence should reflect a “modest” reduction from the four to five years they said federal guidelines would suggest.

Mr Mueller, on the other hand, said Cohen had voluntarily provided information about his own and others’ conduct on “core topics under investigation” and described the information “credible and consistent with other evidence” they had obtained.

Mr Mueller suggested the sentence for lying to Congress should run concurrently with the sentence in the New York case, and said his yeam would be not requesting any added jail time.

Reuters contributed to this report

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