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.
Serial killer Samuel Little’s drawings of his victims published by FBI | US News
The former boxer who could be America’s most prolific serial killer has drawn more than a dozen sketches of women he says murdered.
Samuel Little, now 78, has confessed to 90 murders, mostly of black women, from across the US and spanning 40 years.
He is currently serving life for the murders of three women – and he has confessed to killing dozens more across America between 1970 to 2005. He is expected to die in prison in Texas.
According to the FBI, Little “remembers his victims and the killings in great detail” but is “less reliable, however, when it comes to remembering dates”.
Police are now working to verify the victims from his new confession, releasing an updated map marking the location of his attacks. Eight cases were removed after being confirmed or matched to open cases.
In the Wednesday update to the information published by the FBI in November, one formerly unmatched confession has been matched to a Jane Doe (a term for an unidentified victim).
Although the exact time of when Little drew the pictures isn’t known, the FBI said they were based on his memories of some of his victims.
An FBI statement says Little targeted “marginalised and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs.”
Agents hope the information will spark the memory of members of the public and generate tips to help solve the dozens of unsolved murders.
Ector County district attorney Bobby Bland in Odessa, Texas, said 50 cold homicide cases have been closed as a result.
Most of the unsolved murder remaining are in California.
Little could be worst serial killer in US history, although only a handful of his confessions have so far been matched to victims by police.
Currently, the deadliest known US serial killer is believed to be Gary Ridgway, otherwise known as “Green River Killer”, who was convicted of 49 murders and is serving a life sentence in Washington state.
:: Samuel Little’s confessions, as set out by the FBI
:: Unmatched Confession: Hispanic female in her 40s. Killed in 1988 or 1996. Victim possibly from Phoenix.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1997. Victim possibly called “Ann.”
North Little Rock, Arkansas
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1992 or 1993.
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed between 1990 and 1997.
West Memphis, Arkansas
:: Confession Matched to a Jane Doe: Black female between 28-29 years old killed in 1984. Victim picked up in Memphis, Tennessee.
San Bernardino, California
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between the ages of 18-23 killed in 1984.
Los Angeles, California
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1987.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1987.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 19, killed in 1987.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 50, killed in 1987. Victim possibly called “Granny.”
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 22-23 years old killed in 1987.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 26-27 years old killed in 1987.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 40-45 years old killed in 1990 or 1991. Victim possibly called “Alice.”
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 20-22 years old killed in 1991 or 1992. Victim possibly from San Francisco.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1992.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1992 or 1993.
:: Unmatched Confession: Hispanic female between 24-25 years old killed in 1992 or 1993. Victim possibly from Phoenix.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 23-25 years old killed in 1996.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 23-24 years old killed in 1996. Victim possibly called “T-Money.”
:: Unmatched Confession: White female between 23-25 years old killed in 1996.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female age 25 killed in 1996.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1970 or 1971.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 22, killed in 1971.Victim possibly called “Linda.”
:: Unmatched Confession: Black male, age 18, killed in 1971 or 1972. Victim possibly called “Mary Ann” or “Marianne.”
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 28, killed in 1971 or 1972. Victim possibly worked on Homestead Air Force Base.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 23-24 years old killed in the mid 1970s. Victim possibly called “Emily.” Victim possibly worked at the University of Miami.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female age 45 killed in 1973. Victim possibly called “Sarah.” Victim possibly from Massachusetts.
Fort Myers, Florida
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1984.
Tampa Bay, Florida
::Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1984.
Plant City, Florida
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1977 or 1978. Met victim in Clearwater, Florida.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 22-23 years old killed in 1974.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female age 23 killed in 1984.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 35-40 years old killed in 1981.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female, age 26, killed in 1983 or 1984. Victim possibly from Griffith, Georgia.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 23-25 years old killed in 1984. Victim possibly a college student.
:: Confession Matched to a Jane Doe: Black female between 30-40 years old killed in 1977.
Dade County, Georgia
:: Confession Matched to a Jane Doe: Black female between 25-30 years old killed in 1980 or 1981. Met the victim in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Granite City, Illinois
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 26, killed between 1976 and 1979. Met victim in St. Louis, Missouri. Victim possibly called “Jo.”
East St. Louis, Illinois
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed between 1976 and 1979. Met victim in St. Louis, Missouri.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1984. Met victim in Columbus, Ohio. Body disposed of somewhere in Northern Kentucky (city unspecified).
New Orleans, Louisiana
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1973. Victim possibly called “Sarah.” Victim possibly worked at a restaurant in New Orleans.
:: Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1982.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 24, killed between 1987 and the early 1990s.
Prince George’s County, Maryland
:: Confession Matched to a Jane Doe: White female between 20-25 years old killed in 1972. Victim possibly from Massachusetts.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 22, killed between 1980 and 1984.
:: Confession Matched to a Jane Doe: Black female between 35-45 years old killed in 1977. Met the victim in Gulfport, Mississippi. Victim possibly from Pascagoula. Victim possibly worked at Ingalls Shipyard.
Las Vegas, Nevada
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 40, killed in 1993.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1974.
Charleston, South Carolina
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 28, killed between 1977 and 1982.
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female, age 25, killed in 1975.
Wichita Falls, Texas
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female killed in 1976 or 1977. Body disposed of somewhere outside of Wichita Falls (city unspecified).
:: Unmatched Confession: Black female between 25-28 years old killed between 1976 and 1979 or in 1993.
Journalist and Duterte critic Maria Ressa arrested for ‘cyber libel’ | World News
An award-winning journalist who is an outspoken critic of the Philippine president has been arrested on “cyber libel” charges.
Maria Ressa, who was named as a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018, was arrested as part of a series of legal cases against perceived adversaries of the government.
Ms Ressa, chief executive of news outlet Rappler, is accused of “cyber libel” over a 2012 article which linked a businessman to murder and trafficking humans and drugs.
The article cited information from an intelligence report from an unspecified agency. The businessman denies any wrongdoing.
Ms Ressa is a vocal critic of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, and her work saw her named by Time Magazine last year.
Time said her publication was carrying out “fearless reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s propaganda machine and extrajudicial killings”.
Amnesty International said Ms Ressa’s arrest was “brazenly politically motivated”.
Agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Ms Ressa at the Rappler office and she was escorted to NBI headquarters.
She said: “We are not intimidated. No amount of legal cases, black propaganda and lies can silence Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line.
“These legal acrobatics show how far the government will go to silence journalists, including the pettiness of forcing me to spend the night in jail.”
Menardo Guevarra, the justice secretary, said Ms Ressa was indicted more than a week ago.
As Ms Ressa was arrested so late in the afternoon it was “difficult if not impossible” for her to post bail before the courts closed, her lawyer said.
The journalist is no stranger to facing criminal charges. She has been indicted several times, most recently on tax evasion charges, with one stating her company failed to file $3m (£2.3m) in taxes in 2015.
She told CNN, her former employers, she had “long run out of synonyms for the word ‘ridiculous’.”
Rappler’s operating licence was rescinded in 2018 and this and the tax evasion cases are ongoing.
Chay Hofilena, Rappler’s investigative editor, said: “These cases are intended to intimidate us. We know that’s the intent, we are not buckling.”
Rappler is one of several news agencies which have been deemed critical of Mr Duterte’s policies, including his anti-drug campaign, that has left thousands of suspects dead.
Mr Duterte has called Rappler a “fake news outlet” and suggested it could be linked to the CIA.
But he says he has never punished anyone for criticising him.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement: “The Philippine government’s legal harassment of Rappler and Ressa has now reached a critical and alarming juncture.
“We call on Filipino authorities to immediately release Ressa, drop this spurious cyber libel charge, and cease and desist this campaign of intimidation aimed at silencing Rappler.”
Ms Ressa has also won the Press Freedom award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Centre for Journalists’ Knight International Journalism Award.
Michelle Obama’s Grammy appearance fails to impress mother | US News
Michelle Obama got quite the reality check from her mother, who appeared unimpressed by her daughter’s stage appearance at the Grammys.
After speaking at the awards alongside the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys, Mrs Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, texted her to ask if she had “met any real stars”.
In the funny exchange, Mrs Obama defended her own status, telling her mother “I am a real star, by the way”.
But her mother had the last word with a simple, and cutting “yeah”.
Mrs Obama took a screenshot of the conversation and shared it on Instagram, where it has been liked by nearly two million people.
She said: “When your mom doesn’t think you’re a ‘real’ celebrity…Tonight in Phoenix, I shared this text thread from my mom from #Grammys night, and I just had to share it with all of you.”
The former first lady received a standing ovation when she opened the awards show with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Keys and Lopez.
Her mother’s first text read: “I guess you were a hit at the Grammys.”
Mrs Obama replied: “Did you watch it?!”
Mrs Robinson said: “I saw it because Gracie called me. Did you meet any of the real stars or did you run right after you were done”
In an exchange many mothers and daughters may recognise, the pair then argue over whether or not Mrs Obama told her mother she was going to be on stage.
Earlier in the week, Mrs Obama had credited her Grammys appearance to her friend, singer Keys, and said she took part to be there for her.
She said: “She [Keys] is one of the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful people I know – there’s no one better to help us all celebrate the unifying power of music!”
In her Grammys speech, she said: “Music has always helped me tell my story and I know that’s true for everyone here.
“Music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to let each other in.”
Mrs Obama’s appearance drew the largest cheers from the crowd, and has reignited the debate about whether she should run for president herself.
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