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There's a huge question looming over Paul Manafort's unraveling plea deal with Mueller

There's a huge question looming over Paul Manafort's unraveling plea deal with Mueller


Justice Department veterans are flummoxed that lawyers representing Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, are still in touch with Trump's lawyers following Manafort's guilty plea.
 There's a huge question looming over Paul Manafort's unraveling plea deal with Mueller

Justice Department veterans are flummoxed that lawyers representing Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, are still in touch with Trump's lawyers following Manafort's guilty plea.

"It is absolutely not normal for a convicted felon and now cooperator to continue to loop in a potential target's attorneys on the relationship with the prosecutor," said one former DOJ career attorney.

There is no official guideline that bars lawyers for two sides from communicating with one another, but such communications could severely undermine or even tank a cooperation deal entirely.

As Paul Manafort's name winds up back in the headlines this week, DOJ veterans say there's one big question they want an answer to: why is Manafort's legal team still communicating with lawyers representing President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation?

Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy and obstruction and has since been cooperating with the special counsel. But on Monday, Mueller's office said in a new court filing that Manafort had breached his plea deal by lying to investigators.

Prosecutors said "the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement," freed them of any obligation from the plea agreement.
Trump's lead defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also indicated that the agreement may be unraveling when he told CNN on Tuesday that Manafort's lawyers told him they're running into trouble with Mueller.

"We discuss things that are appropriate," Giuliani said. "They're Manafort's team in control of it. I have no idea what else they're questioning them about. I don't want to know."

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