Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has not proven that their client lied to investigators, as prosecutors have claimed, but in developments late Wednesday afternoon, a federal court ruled otherwise.
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Update 6:50 p.m. EST Feb. 13: In the latest decision, a federal judge ruled Manafort not only lied to Mueller's team, he made false statements after agreeing to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office, according to court documents.
The judge also found that Manafort lied in statements to investigators and the grand jury about finances related to a pro-Trump super PAC, that he lied about his communications with alleged Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik and that he lied about information in another Justice Department investigation, among other false statements.
The court ruled that because of the “false statements,” Manafort “breached the plea agreement” with Mueller.
“Therefore, the Office of the Special Counsel is no longer bound by its obligations under the plea agreement, including its promise to support a reduction of the offense level in the calculation of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for acceptance of responsibility.”
Original story: Attorneys for Manafort wrote in a memo filed Wednesday in court that Mueller's team, "has not sustained its burden of proof to establish that Mr. Manafort lied during his interviews or grand jury appearances."
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Manafort agreed in September to cooperate with investigator while pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering. However, Mueller’s team said in a court filing in December that despite the agreement, Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” about his contact with Trump administration officials and with a Russian associate.
>> Mueller investigation: Paul Manafort claims he didn't 'intentionally' lie to investigators
“Mr. Manafort did not lie,” attorneys for Manafort wrote in a memo filed in court Wednesday. “Despite the considerable efforts of the Office of Special Counsel… it cannot prove what did not happen.”
Manafort is expected at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to appear in a federal courthouse in Washington for a sealed hearing on the allegations.
>> Mueller investigation: Paul Manafort appears in court after allegedly lying to investigators
Manafort’s attorneys have denied any wrongdoing. Officials said he’s turned over access to his electronic devices and email accounts as part of his cooperation.
Last month, defense attorneys said Manafort has been kept in solitary confinement for his own safety. He’s had severe gout for several months of his incarceration, according to his attorneys, and it’s sometimes been severe enough to require that he use a wheelchair.
“He also suffers from depression and anxiety and, due to the facility’s visitation regulations, has had very little contact with his family,” his attorneys said.