Mueller Accuses Manafort of Attempting to Tamper With Witnesses
Mueller Accuses Manafort of Attempting to Tamper With Witnesses
Bill Clark CQ Roll Call Newscom via ZUMA
05 June, 2018, 18:19
According to the court filing, Manafort began messaging and calling one of the witnesses in February shortly after a federal grand jury in Washington returned a superseding indictment against him that included allegations of unregistered lobbying related to the Hapsburg Group. He is facing charges of tax fraud and money laundering.
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Apart from Manafort, an associate of his, who is not named in the court papers, also tried to contact the witnesses. Those two people had previously assisted lobbying and public relations efforts that Manafort masterminded in the U.S. and Europe. They also said an associate of Manafort's tried to contact a potential witness a few times. Through the app, Manafort sent a link to Business Insider story titled "Former European leaders struggle to explain themselves after Mueller claims Paul Manafort paid them to lobby for Ukraine". In Monday night's filing, prosecutors attached several emails and schedules from 2011 to 2013 about the Hapsburg group's meetings in the United States with members of Congress. Those charges had revealed for the first time the existence of the Hapsburg group and its efforts in the US.
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If the judge believes Manafort attempted to interfere with witnesses, they will likely be less lenient toward the defense team, particularly when it comes to potentially close calls in a criminal trial, Whiting added, which could prove disastrous for the former Trump campaign chairman.
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Domin's noted that Manafort attempted to contact the two people between February and April via phone, text, and encrypted message.
An associate of Manafort reached out to one of the witnesses to inform the person that "My friend P is trying to reach (a witness) to brief him on what's going on".
Kilimnik, who has denied having connections to Russian intelligence agencies, was also involved in the ghostwritten op-ed matter, which prosecutors also connect to Person A in the latest filing. "How are you? Hope you are doing fine" and a wink emoji.
Manafort called Person D1 and sent him encrypted WhatsApp messages, while his associate reached out to Person D1 and Person D2 through a mix of encrypted WhatsApp and Telegram messages, according to court documents.
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Those opinions, though, are not the same as a court decision, nor do they rule out a president being forced to testify. The 20-page letter was a response to repeated requests by Mueller's office asking to interview Trump.