Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Manafort and ally with Russian intel ties face new obstruction charges

Manafort and ally with Russian intel ties face new obstruction charges

"Mr. Manafort asked no one to provide a false affidavit or false testimony at trial, or perjure themselves, and he has not given - nor offered to give - any potential witness anything in exchange for false testimony", the response said.

Manafort's lawyers, in a court filing on Friday, asked the judge to reject Mueller's request, saying "the text messages cited by the special counsel do not establish any witness tampering".

They said Kilimnik may have reported to Russian intelligence officers in Moscow or Kiev or both on his work at the International Republican Institute office in Moscow where he was employed for a decade to 2005 and later on his work for Manafort in Ukraine.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian business associate Konstantin Kilimnik were charged Friday with attempting to obstruct the investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election.

The obstruction charges are related to a filing earlier this week in which Mueller's investigators alleged that Manafort and Kilimnik, also linked to Russia's intelligence service, attempted to tamper with the two un-named witnesses - going so far as to allegedly coach their testimony.

The witnesses placed op-eds from the politicians and arranged meetings for them in the United States and around the world, according to court papers. Manafort's lawyers would find the hard work of trial preparation even more challenging with their client in jail, Zeidenberg said.

Prosecutors have said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies. The group's lobbying work included advocacy on behalf of Yanukovych in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress and officials in the executive branch.

Kilimnik, who isn't in the USA and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, has denied any links to Russian intelligence. They said the special counsel's latest "very public and very specious" filing was a pressure tactic on Manafort that may have "irreparably damaged" his right to a fair trial in the District of Columbia, signaling they may seek to move the case to Virginia.

Paul Manafort President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington
Paul Manafort President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman leaves the federal courthouse in Washington

Manafort has maintained his innocence despite all of the charges brought before him.

The Hapsburg Group were onetime European politicians Manafort allegedly secretly paid more than two million euros ($2.5 million) to lobby for Yanukovych in 2012-2013.

Prosecutors say that the "P" in the message refers to Manafort and that the assertions in the texts are untrue. "Closer scrutiny of this 'evidence" reveals that the Special Counsel's allegations are without merit because Mr. Manafort's limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

The charges mark the second time since October that an indictment against Manafort has been amended to include additional allegations. Gates is cooperating with prosecutors against Manafort.

On Friday, the former campaign manager issued a report denouncing allegations by Robert Mueller that he had tampered with witness evidence. Manafort has longstanding ties to a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin. Kilimnik has denied such ties and characterized himself as "a random casualty because of my proximity to" Manafort.

On Friday, Trump wouldn't rule out pardoning Manafort.

Kilimnik worked for Manafort's longtime business partner, Rick Gates, when they served as political consultants in Ukraine. The deal was the subject of a long-running legal dispute, with Deripaska claiming Manafort had defrauded him.

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