Paul Manafort repeatedly lied to federal investigators about topics including his contact with the Trump administration and his interactions with a Russian associate accused of helping him tamper with witnesses, special counsel prosecutors said Friday, detailing for the first time their allegations the former Trump campaign chairman breached his plea agreement.
In court papers filed Friday evening, prosecutors said Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” that could not be considered “mere memory lapses.” Prosecutors appeared to welcome the opportunity to prove that Manafort lied after agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel probe.
“If [Manafort] contends the government has not acted in good faith, the government is available to prove the false statements at a hearing,” prosecutors wrote, saying they had “independent documentary and testimonial evidence, including Manafort’s subsequent submissions.”
A spokesman for Manafort declined to comment. His attorneys have denied the special prosecutor’s allegations.
Prosecutors said Manafort falsely denied having any contacts with Trump administration officials and said he never asked anyone to communicate with an administration official on his behalf. Manafort clonly communicated with officials before they joined the administration or after they left it, prosecutors said.
“The evidence demonstrates that Manafort lied about his contacts,” prosecutors said. “The evidence demonstrates that Manafort had contacts with administration officials. For instance, in a text exchange from May 26, 2018, Manafort authorized a person to speak with an administration official on Manafort’s behalf.”
The filing was heavily blacked-out in the sections concerning Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate whom the special counsel accused of conspiring with Manafort to tamper with witnesses. Prosecutors claimed that Manafort, after signing the plea agreement, denied but later admitted that Kilimnik had conspired with him to tailor the testimony of two witnesses in order to “exculpate them” of a violation of the federal law requiring disclosure of lobbying work for foreign governments.
The 10-page document stated that Manafort met with the special counsel’s office and federal investigators a dozen times, including before and after his September deal with prosecutors. They said he also was called to testify before a grand jury twice, on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
In those sessions with authorities, the special counsel’s office also accused Manafort of making “several inconsistent statements” about a $125,000 payment to a firm with whom he had worked in the past.
They also stated that Manafort, before and after his September deal, had provided authorities information in connection to a separate investigation in another district.
After Manafort signed his plea agreement, prosecutors said, Manafort gave the government, including the Justice Department officials running that probe, “a different and exculpatory version of the events.” Prosecutors wrote that Manafort then adjusted the version he gave to “more closely conform to his earlier statements,” after his attorneys showed him notes that had been taken from an earlier proffer session.
At a hearing in Washington last week, lead special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann did not rule out the possibility that Mueller’s office would bring additional charges against Manafort related to his alleged lies. “That determination has not been made yet,” he said.
Regardless of whether added charges come, Manafort could face a heavier sentence as a result of the claims he violated his plea deal. The 69-year-old political operative, convicted in August by a Virginia jury on eight counts of financial fraud, already faces the specter of a substantial prison sentence.
A month after his conviction in Alexandria, Virginia, Manafort pleaded guilty in Washington to a pair of charges related to his failure to disclose past lobbying for Ukraine and efforts to hide his income from that work, along with a separate charge connected to witness-tampering allegations that landed him in jail this year.
Before his verdict in Virginia and subsequent guilty plea in Washington, Manafort—who was first indicted in D.C. in October 2017—had vowed to fight the charges against him at every turn, becoming the first defendant in a special counsel case to force prosecutors to trial.
In June, Manafort faced prosecutors’ wrath when they accused him of attempting to tamper with potential witnesses while he was out on pretrial release. They hit Manafort and his longtime associate in Ukraine with new charges of obstructing and conspiring to obstruct justice.
Jackson, in a hearing that month, also ordered Manafort to jail while he awaited his September trial. It was not Manafort’s first run-in with the court. Jackson had previously admonished him for helping ghost-write an op-ed for the English-language Ukrainian newspaper Kyiv Post, saying similar action in the future would be considered a violation of a gag order the court issued in November.
As the judge explained her decision to revoke bail, she told Manafort that he “abused the trust placed in you six months ago.”
Read the filing: