Manafort lied to investigators in Russia probe, judge rules

Former Trump campaign chairman faces prison in two separate cases stemming from Mueller probe

Kevin Downing, Paul Manafort’s defense attorney, right, walks to the entrance of federal court on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Paul Manafort intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the special counsel in the Russia probe, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was another loss for the former Trump campaign chairman, who faces years in prison in two separate criminal cases stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence, though Jackson said she would decide the exact impact during his sentencing next month.

READ MORE: Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

The four-page order resolves a dispute that had provided new insight into how Mueller views Manafort’s actions as part of his broader probe of Russian election interference and any possible co-ordination with associates of President Donald Trump.

Jackson found there was sufficient evidence to say Manafort broke his plea agreement by lying about three of five matters that prosecutors had singled out. That included his misleading the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, his co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.

Prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about his discussions with Kilimnik about a possible Ukrainian peace plan. During a sealed hearing, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said one of the discussions— an Aug. 2, 2016, meeting at the Grand Havana Club cigar bar in New York— went to the “larger view of what we think is going on” and what “we think the motive here is.”

“This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating,” Weissmann said, adding: “That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel.”

The meeting occurred while Manafort was still in a high-ranking role in the Trump campaign. Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy and also a Trump campaign aide, also attended.

Prosecutors also accused Manafort of lying about sharing polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign, an allegation that became public accidentally when Manafort’s attorney flubbed redactions in a court filing.

Manafort’s attorneys had argued that he didn’t intentionally mislead investigators but rather forgot some details until his memory was refreshed. They also said the special counsel hadn’t shown that the topic at issue were material to the investigation.

In her ruling, Jackson said prosecutors did not sufficiently back up two allegations against Manafort, saying she could not find that he intentionally lied about Kilimnik’s role in witness tampering or what Manafort told investigators about his contacts with the Trump administration.

Chad Day, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alternative approval process to proceed for Centennial Field purchase

Fate of loan to purchase land for future park in hands of South Shuswap residents

Valdy gives volunteers a hand after Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Celebrated Canadian singer pitched in alongside starstruck clean-up crew

Robbery tactic used on Salmon Arm senior not uncommon

RCMP advice comes after credit cards stolen at Walmart parking lot

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

Founder of Salmon Arm’s sister city exchange helps welcome Inashiki visitors

Twenty three Japanese guests visit city for a week, Salmon Arm to return in March

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

North Shuswap Lions, Celista winery host benefit concert

Sept. 7 event at Celista Estate Winery to support North Shuswap Youth Program

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Shuswap history in pictures

Shuswap history in pictures: mechanics class

Most Read