Manafort case goes silent on night when major filing due

10 January, 2019, 23:47 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Donald Trump is seen with Paul Manafort during the Republican National Convention in July 2016

Manafort's lawyers wrote in an improperly redacted portion of the brief that prosecutors said he lied about "sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign". The revelations in the court filing on Tuesday seem to confirm that.

Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman say in a new court filing that any "misstatements" he made to prosecutors in their long-running investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election were "unintentional" and that he won't contest the prosecutors' claim that he lied. Kilimnik has denied any ties to Russian intelligence.

The filing sheds light on Manafort's ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian businessman who was charged past year with tampering with potential witnesses.

The filing says that a May 26, 2018, text message exchange with Manafort involved an unidentified "third-party" who was asking permission to name-drop Manafort if the person met with Trump.

The Mueller prosecutors, who for 20 months have been investigating Trump campaign links to Russian Federation and whether Trump, as president, tried to illegally obstruct the probe, contended that Manafort lied about least five subjects.

The filing revealed the first extensive details of what Manfort is accused of having lied about.

Manafort's legal team argued in the filing that his client had been intensely busy managing Trump's White House campaign, and could not recall every communication.

At one time earlier in the criminal case, Manafort's attorneys asked the judge minutes before midnight for a filing extension.

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The court filing does not reveal when that meeting took place, but an unredacted section that follows highlights that it is "not uncommon, however, for a witnesses to have only a vague recollection about events that occured years prior" and that "these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a USA presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently".

He has been wheelchair bound for months, his lawyers say, because of gout, and has been kept essentially in solitary confinement for his own safety. "He also suffers from depression and anxiety and, due to the facility's visitation regulations, has had very little contact with his family".

The documents also reveal that prosecutors accused Manafort of lying about his contact with administration officials after Mr Trump took office.

For the two charges he now faces in DC federal court, Manafort could receive 17 to 22 years in prison, his plea agreement says.

"The second example identified by the Special Counsel is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement", Manafort's attorneys said.

Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller when he admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington on September 14, a month after jurors convicted him in Virginia of tax and bank fraud.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered the special counsel to respond and set a January 25 hearing to air the competing perspectives. If he is found to have breached the deal, he would lose any sentencing credits for acceptance of responsibility, prosecutors said.

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