Court filing details stunning development in Mueller investigation

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Robert Mueller's team has submitted a new court filing which claims that Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement by lying to investigators "on a variety of subject matters".

The torpedoing of Manafort's plea deal could expose him to a lengthier prison sentence and potentially more criminal charges.

The special counsel investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election said the breach meant there was now no reason to delay sentencing.

In the status report, which was filed after the parties had asked for a delay in the previous deadline, Manafort denied that he had not been cooperative.

He was convicted in a Virginia federal court on eight counts of financial fraud. Facing a second trial in D.C., he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The brief but remarkable development indicates that not only has the former Trump campaign chairman shared extensive information with Justice Department prosecutors since he began cooperating, but that prosecutors also believe they are able to verify or refute that information.

Manafort disputes that characterisation; his attorneys write in the joint filing that he "has provided information to the government in an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations".

Mr Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt.

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Deadlocked charges from the previous trial were to be dismissed if there was "successful co-operation" with the special counsel.

In the plea deal, Manafort plead guilty to conspiracy against the USA and obstruction of justice, related to allegations of witness tampering.

He faced up to 10 years in prison under the deal and will also forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts.

Prosecutors dismissed bank fraud charges as part of the deal - charges that could possibly be refiled. The defendant agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors in the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

How did we get here?

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant ran the Trump campaign.

Rudy Giuliani, who represents Trump in the Russian Federation investigation, told Reuters in October that he had periodically spoken with Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, and that he believed Manafort had not provided any information to prosecutors that was damaging to the president.

Following his conviction, President Trump praised his former campaign chairman for refusing to "break" under legal pressure.

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