Judge finds Manafort lied to investigators in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Manafort intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the special counsel in the Russia probe, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was another loss for the former Trump campaign chairman, who faces years in prison in two separate criminal cases stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. It hurts Manafort's chance of receiving a reduced sentence, though Jackson said she would decide the exact impact during his sentencing next month.

The four-page order resolves a dispute that had provided new insight into how Mueller views Manafort's actions as part of his broader probe of Russian election interference and any possible coordination with associates of President Donald Trump.

Jackson found there was sufficient evidence to say Manafort broke his plea agreement by lying about three of five matters that prosecutors had singled out. That included his misleading the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, his co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.

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Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
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Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort through the years
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort speaks at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) and daughter Ivanka (R) look on during Trump's walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign chair and convention manager Paul Manafort appears at a press conference at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort talks to the media from the Trump family box on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Paul Manafort, senior advisor to Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, smiles as he talks with other Trump campaign staff after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's senior campaign adviser Paul Manafort (L) walks into a reception with former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort listens to Ivanka Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A man with a security credential takes a selfie at the podium as Donald Trump, flanked by campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Paul Manafort, advisor to Donald Trump, is seen on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 19, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Manafort., Convention Manager, Trump Campaign, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday April 10, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NA.R.DoleMicCk1.081596.RG.Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks up from podium at balloons and television cameras as convention center manager Paul Manafort, at right, points out preparations for tonight's acceptance speech in San Diego, 08/15/96. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, young Republicans political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo by Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about his discussions with Kilimnik about a possible Ukrainian peace plan. During a sealed hearing, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said one of the discussions— an Aug. 2, 2016, meeting at the Grand Havana Club cigar bar in New York— went to the "larger view of what we think is going on" and what "we think the motive here is."

"This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel's Office is investigating," Weissmann said, adding: "That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel."

The meeting occurred while Manafort was still in a high-ranking role in the Trump campaign. Rick Gates, Manafort's longtime deputy and also a Trump campaign aide, also attended.

Prosecutors also accused Manafort of lying about sharing polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign, an allegation that became public accidentally when Manafort's attorney flubbed redactions in a court filing.

Manafort's attorneys had argued that he didn't intentionally mislead investigators but rather forgot some details until his memory was refreshed. They also said the special counsel hadn't shown that the topic at issue were material to the investigation.

In her ruling, Jackson said prosecutors did not sufficiently back up two allegations against Manafort, saying she could not find that he intentionally lied about Kilimnik's role in witness tampering or what Manafort told investigators about his contacts with the Trump administration.

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Read the order: http://apne.ws/NFRmWXy

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