Saturday, 19 January, 2019


Manafort accused of sharing Trump polling data with Russian operative

Can you redact that suit jacket though Can you redact that suit jacket though?Image Getty Images
Bennie Garza | 09 January, 2019, 16:16

Paul Manafort's lawyers filed court documents Tuesday in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's allegations that he violated the terms of his cooperation deal by lying. Court filings submitted by lawyers on Tuesday revealed that Manafort lied about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a lobbyist linked to Russian intelligence.

The accusation could be important evidence in Mueller's ongoing probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The former Trump campaign chief's lawyers said their client has been suffering from gout, anxiety and depression and that he never purposely lied to them during his 12 interview sessions with the special counsel and other prosecutors.

In fact, during a proffer meeting held with the Special Counsel on September 11, 2018, Mr. Manafort explained to the Government attorneys and investigators that he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought, had the issue not been raised during the period he was engaged with work related to the presidential campaign.

Court watchers and the judge anticipated that the Manafort team would either push back on Mueller's team's assertions-like they previously indicated they would-or agree not to fight the special counsel as Manafort headed to sentencing. Tuesday's filing revealed the first extensive details of what he lied about.

The filing also says Manafort has been accused of lying to investigators by saying that he did not discuss a Ukrainian peace plan with Kilimnik.

The lawyers assented to these allegations by special counsel while arguing that, even though Manafort initially misled the government about these facts, they can not show that he was actually "lying" because the events "simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind".

"It is not surprising at all that Mr Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed", Manafort's team wrote.

They contended the 69-year-old Manafort, facing years in prison, had breached the cooperation agreement that was reached when he pleaded guilty to cheating USA tax authorities, violating federal lobbying laws and obstructing justice in connection with his long-time lobbying efforts for deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych in the years before he worked on Trump's campaign. And in a text message, he authorized another person to speak with a White House official on May 26, they alleged.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ordered the special counsel to respond and set a January 25 hearing date to air the dispute.

The filing also said that any "misstatements" made by Manafort, to federal prosecutors were "unintentional" and he would not seek a hearing to contest the allegation he lied. That time could come in addition to his punishment for separate convictions in Virginia on tax and bank fraud charges.

The ex-Trump aide had been hoping for leniency at his 5 March sentencing under the plea deal. Both the Virginia and D.C. cases involved his past work for the Ukrainian government.

Manafort and Kilimnik were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by attempting to tamper with witnesses after Manafort had been already been indicted for other crimes.

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