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Mueller might file new charges against Manafort

Mueller might file new charges against Manafort
Special Counsel Robert Mueller may file new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Mueller said in a court filing this week that Manafort broke a plea deal by lying to federal investigators.

Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy in September, and agreed to cooperate “fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly” with Mueller’s ongoing ‘Russiagate’ investigation. Manafort’s charges were unrelated to ‘Russian collusion’ to influence the 2016 election, but were related to foreign lobbying violations Manafort had made over a decade earlier.

In court documents entered on Monday, Mueller alleges that Manafort broke the terms of the plea deal by lying to the FBI and to Mueller himself “on a variety of subject matters.” Manafort denies the claim, and his legal team said he “believes he provided truthful information” to Mueller.

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Mueller’s prosecution team has not elaborated on the details of Manafort’s alleged “crimes and lies.”

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday that Mueller is still deciding whether to bring additional charges against Manafort. Jackson ordered the prosecution to provide more details on Manafort’s alleged lies by next Friday, AP reported.

Manafort is still awaiting sentencing for the conspiracy charges, which carry a potential punishment of five years in prison each. He is also set to be sentenced on eight other felony fraud charges in a Virginia court in February. A decision on these eight charges had been delayed until Manafort was done cooperating with Mueller or was sentenced in the conspiracy case – whichever came first.

On Friday, Judge Jackson set a provisional sentencing date for March 5.

If convicted on all charges, Manafort faces more than 80 years in prison. President Trump has not ruled out pardoning his former campaign manager. “I wouldn’t take it off the table,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Why would I take it off the table?”

The potential new charges for Manafort, coupled with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen admitting to making false statements on Thursday, has thrust the Mueller probe back into the spotlight this week. While Mueller has secured convictions against a handful of Trump associates, the year-long, $20 million probe has not yet found evidence of ‘Russian collusion.’

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