Paul Manafort intentionally lied to investigators and a jury in the Russia probe, a judge has ruled.
The former Trump campaign chairman faces years in prison in two separate criminal cases connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
The judge found there was sufficient evidence to say Manafort, 69, broke his plea agreement by lying about three of five matters singled out by prosecutors.
It was found he misled the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his involvement with Konstantin Kilimnik, his co-defendant who the FBI say is linked to Russian intelligence.
Manafort was also found to have lied about sharing polling data with Mr Kilimnik during the presidential campaign.
A meeting on 2 August, 2016, when he held a senior role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, took place at the Grand Havana Club cigar bar in New York.
Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said one of the discussions 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,” Mr Weissmann said, continuing: “That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel.”
Manafort’s lawyers had claimed he had not intentionally mislead investigators, but forgot some details until his memory was jogged. They also said it was not clear the topic was material to the investigation.
Manafort was cleared of two allegatoins, the judge ruling there was not enough evidence to support the allegation Manafort had intentionally lied about Mr Kilimnik’s role in witness tampering or what Manafort said about his contacts with the Trump administration.
The decison damages Manafort’s chances of receiving a reduced sentence.
The impact on his sentencing will be announced next month.
In September last year, he reached a plea deal after admitting one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.Ten other counts were dropped as part of the plea deal.
At the time, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign.
The month before, Manafort was found guilty of bank and tax fraud in August 2018 in what was seen as the first trial victory for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
Flooding and mudslides kill at least 60 people in South Africa | World News
Flooding and mudslides have killed at least 60 people on South Africa’s eastern coast, officials have said.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province, where many homes collapsed, and at least three people died in neighbouring Eastern Cape.
Rescuers were digging through the collapsed buildings on Wednesday after days of heavy rain hit areas around the port city of Durban.
More than 1,000 people have also fled their homes.
The extent of the rain late on Monday was unexpected, said Lennox Mabaso from the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.
He said some people had been swept away by floodwater, adding: “There was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people.”
Victor da Silva, from the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to get out before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
He said: “On Monday, the water was just crazy.
“And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining.
“And then an hour-and-a-half later, everything [vanished] because the rain just hasn’t stopped.”
The deaths come a week after 13 people died when a wall at a church in KwaZulu-Natal collapsed after heavy rain.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the province on Wednesday and is expected to visit the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
Facebook warns of $5bn hit as US investigates how it handles user data | Business News
Facebook has warned it could face a hit of up to $5bn (£3.88bn) as a result of an investigation by US regulators into its handling of user data.
The social media giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, disclosed the estimated cost of the investigation into it by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as it published first-quarter financial results.
Facebook reported a 26% rise in revenues to $15.1bn (£11.7bn) – beating analysts’ targets – and estimated that more than 2.1 billion people on average now use its “family” of services every day.
But profits fell by 51% compared with the same period last year to $2.43bn (£1.88bn) as it set aside $3bn (£2.33bn) to cover the FTC inquiry into its “platform and user data practices”.
The FTC has been investigating revelations that Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million of its users with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
The probe has focused on whether the sharing of the data with the British firm, and other privacy disputes, violated a 2011 agreement with the regulator to safeguard users’ privacy.
The FTC is yet to announce any findings.
Facebook said it estimated the range of loss it faced as a result of the investigation was between $3bn and $5bn.
The company added: “The matter remains unresolved and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”
Investors shrugged off the disclosure, sending shares 5% higher in after-hours trading as they focused on Facebook’s buoyant revenues – boosted by the success of its Instagram platform and surging ad income.
Facebook also reported an 80% rise in costs to $11.8bn (£9.15bn) as it ramped up spending to improve content and security across its platforms.
The company’s number of employees stood at nearly 38,000 at the end of last month, up 36% on last year.
It added that its measure of monthly active users rose by 8% to 2.38 billion as of 31 March, while daily active users rose 8% to 1.56 billion on average for March.
Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: “We had a good quarter and our business and community continue to grow.
“We are focused on building out our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking, and working collaboratively to address important issues around the internet.”
Three-year-old migrant boy found alone and in tears near US border | US News
A three-year-old migrant boy was found wandering alone in a Texas cornfield near the US-Mexico border.
The boy, in tears, was discovered in the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville by US Border Patrol agents on Tuesday morning.
Officials said his name and a telephone number were written on his shoes.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tweeted: “We believe the boy was with a larger group that ran when they encountered agents.”
The boy has been taken to a nearby border station while officials try to trace his family.
It came as Donald Trump renewed his threat on Wednesday to send more troops to the US-Mexico border after an incident in which Mexican soldiers confronted US personnel.
Mexico blamed the incident on confusion, and said it was not looking for confrontation with the US.
In tweets on Wednesday morning, Mr Trump said: “Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers.”
He said it was probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the border.
The president added: “Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”
US Border Patrol agents have been struggling to cope with the rising number of families trying to reach the US from Central America.
Between January and the end of March this year, 207,475 people have been detained on the southwest US border, according to US Border Patrol figures.
Mr Trump made migration a key part of his presidential campaign as he said criminals and drug dealers from Mexico were swamping the US.
The president had promised to build a wall to stop the flow of migrants – but last year, Congress refused to give him the $5.7bn (£4.5bn) needed to construct it, leading to a government shutdown.
In February, he declared a national emergency so he could get round Congress and divert funds from the military to the wall.
In March, army engineers received permission to start planning and building 57 miles of 18ft-high fencing along the border.
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