Judge says Paul Manafort lied to special counsel about interactions with alleged Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik

Key Points
  • A federal judge has ruled Paul Manafort violated the terms of his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office.
  • The special counsel provided evidence that Trump's former campaign chairman lied about payments made to a law firm as well as his interactions with alleged Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik.
  • The judge said because of this breach, the special counsel is no longer obligated to recommend a lighter sentence for Manafort.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, June 15, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Paul Manafort lied to investigators in three of the five examples laid out by special counsel Robert Mueller's office, a federal judge said Wednesday.

In December, Mueller's team alleged Trump's former campaign chairman violated his plea deal by lying during his cooperation with the investigation. Some of those lies were related to interactions with alleged Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik, who is a former business associate of Manafort's.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a Wednesday filing the special counsel provided enough evidence that Manafort did lie in some of those instances to the FBI, the special counsel and the grand jury.

  • The judge ruled that Manafort lied while discussing payments made to a law firm that were material to the investigation.
  • She also ruled he lied about his interactions and communications with Kilimnik.
  • The filing said Manafort lied on Oct. 5, 2018 on matters that were material to another investigation conducted by the Department of Justice.

But the judge ruled that the special counsel failed to provide enough evidence that Manafort lied on Oct. 16, 2018 about Kilimnik's alleged role in an obstruction of justice conspiracy as well as his contacts with the administration.

Manafort had cut a deal with Mueller in September just before his trial in U.S. District Court in Washington. He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. One count was related to money he earned from his work in Ukraine. The other was related to his attempts to tamper with witnesses against him.

Kilimnik has been criminally charged with working with Manafort in witness tampering efforts ahead of trials against the former Trump campaign chief. Mueller has previously alleged that Kilimnik was linked to a Russian intelligence service, including in 2016, the same year Manafort served as head of Trump's campaign.

Manafort had agreed to help the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in exchange for lenient sentencing.

In Wednesday's filing, the judge said that because Manafort broke the terms of his deal with Mueller, the special counsel is no longer obligated to recommend a lighter sentence.