Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday said new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are being considered amid allegations he breached his plea deal by lying to investigators.
Prosecutors revealed their plans to a federal judge, who ordered the government to disclose more information about the false statements Manafort allegedly provided by next Friday. A tentative sentencing date is set in early March.
Manafort is accused of lying to investigators, a charge he denies, and breaking the cooperation agreement with Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
“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," Mueller's office said earlier this week.
Manafort, however, contested the claims.
"Manafort met with the government on numerous occasions and answered the government’s questions," the joint status report said. "Manafort has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations. He believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement."
Manafort’s plea agreement stated that he “must at all times give complete, truthful and accurate information and testimony, and must not commit or attempt to commit, any further crimes.” It also said that he must “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly” with anything the government deems “relevant.”
The former Trump campaign official is facing up to five years in prison on each charge in his plea agreement and he’s also is set to be sentenced on eight felony counts in a separate case in Virginia in February.
For his cooperation, prosecutors had agreed not to file additional charges and to ask a judge to reduce his sentence.
But with the latest allegations of lying, Manafort may face additional years in prison if the special counsel decides to bring additional charges, including the 10 felony counts dropped when Manafort made the deal.
The development comes as Mueller is ramping up the Russia investigation. President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress.
Conservative writer Jerome Corsi, meanwhile, rejected a plea deal with Mueller and said he expects to be charged with lying to investigators, though he is pursuing a complaint of his own against Mueller.
The question of whether the Trump campaign coordinated at all with the Kremlin continues to linger, with Trump allies saying Mueller still has shown no evidence of collusion.
Trump also signaled his support for Manafort, even hinting that a pardon for his former campaign chairman wasn’t “off the table.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.