U.S. special court investigators say President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, lied repeatedly to officials about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, prosecutors confirmed Monday.
"After signing the plea agreement, Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Counsel's Office on a variety of subject matters, which constitute breaches of the agreement," prosecutors said in a statement filed with Washington Monday.
Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not specify the details of the lies, he said the new information has opened new avenues to other serious crimes which could lead to over a decade in prison.
Manafort maintains his innocence; his attorneys told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the former campaign chairman had attempted to “live up to his cooperation obligations,” by meeting with the government on several occasions and provided information.
Breaching the plea deal suggests that Manafort could be attempting to protect others involved in Trump’s campaign and to curry favor with the president, said former federal prosecutor David Weinstein.
In September, Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiring against the U.S. as well as a host of charges for money laundering, unregistered lobbying, and pressuring witness, in exchange for a plea deal of leniency before the court.
This was after Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud in a separate case with Mueller in August. The former is expected to be sentenced in February in a Virginian court.