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

USW, WFP remain at loggerheads

Statements from both the union and company about the latest negotiations

Sensitivity in the eye of the beholder

Take a page from the Scottish and tough it out

Have a Blues Christmas in Crofton Saturday

Big Hank and the R&B Kingpins perform a holiday show with a twist

North Cowichan’s testing of drinking water verifies quality and safety

Lead content and other metals monitored closely, with reports published each of the last five years

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

Person of interest identified by RCMP

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

Teacher tells B.C. Supreme Court that student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony in classroom

Case being heard in Nanaimo over indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Most Read