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Mueller's office seeks prison sentence of 20 years or more for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

Mueller's office seeks prison sentence of 20 years or more for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPresident Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman was found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges. Prosecutors are seeking a lengthy prison sentence.



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Paul Manafort: Trump's ex-campaign manager should serve at least 20 years, special counsel Robert Mueller recommends

Paul Manafort: Trump's ex-campaign manager should serve at least 20 years, special counsel Robert Mueller recommendsDonald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort should serve at least 20 years in jail, Robert Mueller has recommended. In requesting what effectively be a life sentence for the 69-year-old, Mr Mueller also asked a judge that he push ahead with sentencing for the man, who served as Mr Trump’s campaign manager for just a handful of months in the summer of 2016. “Manafort acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law, and deprived the federal government and various financial institutions of millions of dollars,“ prosecutors wrote in a court filing on Friday night.



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Former Trump aide Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors, judge rules

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors, judge rulesPaul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the special counsel’s Russia probe, a judge ruled on Wednesday. US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s decision was another loss for Manafort, a once-wealthy political consultant who rose to lead Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and now faces years in prison in two criminal cases brought in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The four-page ruling hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence, though Jackson said she would decide the exact impact during his sentencing next month. It also resolves a dispute that had provided new insight into how Mueller views Manafort’s actions as part of the broader probe of Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Trump associates. Prosecutors have made clear that they remain deeply interested in Manafort’s interactions with a man the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.  Manafort arrives for arraignment on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington Credit: Reuters But it’s unclear exactly what has drawn their attention and whether it relates to election interference because much of the dispute has played out in secret court hearings and blacked out court filings. In her ruling on Wednesday, Jackson provided few new details as she found there was sufficient evidence to say Manafort broke the terms of his plea agreement by lying about three of five matters that prosecutors had singled out. The ruling was largely a rejection of Manafort’s attorneys’ argument that he hadn’t intentionally misled investigators but rather forgot some details until his memory was refreshed. The judge found that Manafort did mislead the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, the co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about several discussions the two men had including about a possible peace plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea. During a sealed hearing last week, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said one of the discussions- an August 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." Paul Manafort timeline "This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating," Weissmann said, according to a redacted transcript of the hearing. He added: "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, attended. And prosecutors say the three men left separately so as not to draw attention to their meeting. Weissmann said investigators were also interested in several other meetings between Kilimnik and Manafort including when Kilimnik travelled to Washington for Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. And Manafort’s attorneys accidentally revealed weeks ago that prosecutors believe Manafort shared polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign. Profile | Paul Manafort On Wednesday, Jackson found that in addition to his interactions with Kilimnik, there was sufficient evidence that Manafort had lied about a payment to a law firm representing him and about an undisclosed Justice Department investigation. But she found there wasn’t enough evidence to back up two other allegations. The judge said prosecutors failed to show Manafort intentionally lied about Kilimnik’s role in witness tampering or about Manafort’s contacts with the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018. Kilimnik, who lives in Russia, was charged alongside Manafort with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He has yet to appear in a US court to face the charges. Manafort’s sentencing is set for March 13. He faces up to five years in prison on two felony charges stemming from illegal lobbying he performed on behalf of Ukrainian political interests. Separately, he faces the possibility of a decade in prison in a federal case in Virginia where he was convicted last year of tax and bank fraud crimes. Sentencing in that case was delayed pending Jackson’s ruling in the plea-deal dispute.



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Paul Manafort’s First Sentencing Postponed Over Claims He Lied

Paul Manafort’s First Sentencing Postponed Over Claims He LiedSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have accused Manafort of breaching the cooperation agreement he struck with them in September to avoid a second trial following his Alexandria jury trial conviction in August.



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Judge cancels Paul Manafort's Feb. 8 sentencing in Virginia case

Judge cancels Paul Manafort's Feb. 8 sentencing in Virginia caseA federal judge has canceled Paul Manafort's Feb. 8 sentencing in Virginia until DC plea dispute resolved



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Roger Stone Draws the Judge Who Threw Paul Manafort in Jail

Roger Stone Draws the Judge Who Threw Paul Manafort in JailThe no-nonsense judge assigned Stone’s case has already demonstrated that she’s got little patience for defendants who misbehave. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and later revoked his bail and threw him in jail. “This is not middle school,” Jackson told Manafort’s lawyers before ordering him locked up in June for alleged witness tampering.



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The Latest: Judge sets new hearing in Paul Manafort case

The Latest: Judge sets new hearing in Paul Manafort caseWASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (all times local):



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Russia charges detained American Paul Whelan with espionage

Russia charges detained American Paul Whelan with espionageRussia has formally charged a former US Marine being held in Moscow with espionage, according to the Interfax News agency. The Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, detained Paul Whelan on December 28 on suspicion of spying but has not given details of his alleged activities. Russian media reported that an American was detained while trying to get a flash-card from a Russian in the prestigious Metropole hotel, a stone's throw from the Kremlin. The card, officials said, contained sensitive data concerning Russian security.   The official charges were filed on Thursday by the Russian Investigative Committee. A source close to the investigation told Interfax that the American has denied the charges.  His lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov told Interfax that he has appealed charges against an American. According to the lawyer, the court ruled that Mr Whelan will remain in detention until February 28.  Mr Zherebenkov said that he has sent an appeal to Moscow's City Court today to "reverse the decision on Mr Whelan's arrest and choose for him another measure, such as bail".  The lawyer said that his client was enduring his custody well, with the TASS News agency quoting Mr Zherebenkov as saying Mr Whelan “remains in a good mood and cracks jokes”.  America's Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, met with Mr Whelan at Moscow's Lefortovo Prison on Wednesday. America has pushed for an explanation of Mr Whelan's detention, with Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, saying on Wednesday that he would demand his "immediate return" if the US determines his detention is inappropriate. Mr Whelan's family has said that he was in Moscow to attend the wedding of a friend, a fellow former Marine and is innocent of the espionage charges against him. It appears that Mr Whelan, a 48-year-old corporate security director from the Detroit area, was a regular visitor to Russia, in an outdated photograph he poses with a white dog with some Sovet-era building behind him. Under Russian law, espionage can carry sentences of between 10 and 20 years in prison. The timing of Mr Whelan’s arrest, just weeks after a Russian gun rights activist pleaded guilty to Kremlin interference in a US court, has raised questions about a potential swap.  Maria Butina's arrest and guilty plea have increased tensions in US-Russian relations. The 30-year-old is the first Russian national to be convicted of seeking to influence US policy in the 2016 election campaign. Moscow has claimed she is a political prisoner,  calling the criminal case against her a "modern political inquisition".



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Mysterious tale of Paul Whelan, American man accused of spying in Russia, steeped in contradictions

Mysterious tale of Paul Whelan, American man accused of spying in Russia, steeped in contradictionsPaul Whelan's arrest in Russia and claims of espionage have birthed speculation about his past, but also America's complex relationship with Russia.



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Paul Whelan, US citizen arrested on spying charges in Russia, was there for wedding, family says

Paul Whelan, US citizen arrested on spying charges in Russia, was there for wedding, family saysThe family of an American arrested in Russia for alleged spying have protested his innocence, saying he was a retired US Marine who went to Moscow for a wedding. Paul Whelan, 48, was detained on Friday, and Russia's Federal Security Service said he was caught "during an espionage operation," but gave no further details. The Russian spying charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. In a statement his family said Mr Whelan had gone to Russia for the wedding of another US Marine. They said: "We have read reports of the arrest in Moscow of Paul Whelan, our son and brother. Paul is a retired Marine and was visiting Moscow to attend a wedding." Mr Whelan's stopped communicating with his family on December 28 "which was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling". His family added: "We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected." The statement was released by his twin brother David Whelan, who added: "It is inconceivable to me that he would have done anything to break the law in Russia." Mr Whelan said the wedding his brother attended was at a luxury hotel in central Moscow on Dec 28, the day of the arrest. US state department officials said they had received formal notification of the detention from the Russian foreign ministry, and were pushing for consular access. It came as relations between the US and Russia are severely strained, in part over Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Maria Butina, a Russian gun-rights activist, is currently in US custody after recently admitting she acted as an illegal foreign agent in 2016.



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