Botched Manafort court filing makes public bombshell allegations in ongoing Mueller investigation

Erika Holt
January 10, 2019

But in doing so, he exposed details of the dispute that were apparently meant to be redacted, including that the special counsel alleges he "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign".

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.

In its filing on Tuesday (local time) the defence was trying to rebut allegations Manafort intentionally lied to Mr Mueller's team after agreeing to plead guilty last September.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave Manafort's lawyers until Monday to respond to the allegation in writing and said prosecutors must provide their underlying evidence by January 14.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Manafort managed the Trump campaign for five months in 2016, during the time Mr Trump clinched his party's nomination What did we learn from the documents?

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.

A longtime Republican operative and lobbyist who had worked for prominent Republicans, including Bob Dole, Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.

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Emails previously reported by the AP and other news outlets show that in July 2016, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about the Trump campaign to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In his filing, Manafort's lawyers said any inconsistencies in those interviews were unintentional.

It also says that Manafort met with Kilimnik in Madrid and that they discussed a peace deal for Ukraine. They said Manafort was unclear on how the payment was recorded by his accountant.

"Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the time forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed", they said.

Mr Kilimnik was considered Manafort's right-hand man in Ukraine and has been accused by the special counsel of conspiring to obstruct justice. Manafort "lied in multiple ways and on multiple occasions", prosecutors wrote, saying "these were not instances of mere memory lapses".

Manafort's lawyers responded that any such conversation did "not constitute outreach by Mr Manafort to the President" and said the prosecution's second example was "hearsay".

Manafort told a colleague in February - four months after he was indicted - that he was in contact with a senior administration official through that time, prosecutors said in accusing him of lying. His sentencing is now set for March, but the judge who will sentence him planned to first resolve whether he did indeed breach his plea agreement with prosecutors.

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