Paul Manafort deliberately lied to prosecutors during his cooperation sessions with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Mueller’s team “established by the preponderance of evidence” that Manafort “intentionally made false statements” on multiple subjects.
The ruling puts President Trump’s former campaign chairman once again in a precarious situation, removing the potential reduction in his jail sentence he would have earned from his cooperation agreement with the special counsel.
“The Office of 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,” Jackson wrote.
Manafort, 69, faces the prospect of ending his life in prison after pleading guilty to a raft of fraud and conspiracy charges in both Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. Those crimes largely pre-date his role in Trump’s 2016 election campaign, but his cooperation talks had focused broadly on activities that took place in the midst of the campaign.
Manafort’s lawyers said earlier Wednesday that their client had never intended to mislead Mueller but had suffered memory problems. They have previously blamed his poor recollection on his sickness and depression while in solitary confinement.
“Mr. Manafort did not lie,” his lawyers wrote in a last-minute filing before Judge Jackson’s ruling was announced.
The court, however, was not swayed.
Cover image: In this March 8, 2018, file photo, Jason Maloni, left, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's spokesman, walks with Paul Manafort, center, as they leave the Alexandria Federal Courthouse after an arraignment hearing in Alexandria, Va. A federal judge in Virginia has rejected Manafort's move to throw out charges brought by the special counsel in the Russia investigation.