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US special counsel adds charges against Manafort

11 June 2018

The charges are not directly related to the period in which Manafort led Donald Trump's presidential campaign, from June to August 2016.

"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.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, hides behind a auto visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Va., after being asked to surrender to federal authorities.

The new indictment charges Manafort and Kilimnik with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice related to contacts they had with two witnesses earlier this year.

Shortly after, Mueller's team said this week, Manafort and Kilimnik called and sent encrypted texts to two public relations individuals, attempting to persuade them to characterize the pro-Ukraine lobbying work they'd done together as limited to Europe.

Paul Manafort and a longtime business associate were indicted Friday on new charges that they conspired to obstruct justice.

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The latest charges increase Manafort's legal jeopardy if he continues an aggressive battle with prosecutors, and could be an effort by Mueller to induce a guilty plea and secure the testimony of a critical campaign adviser to Trump. It isn't clear yet whether Kilimnik might appear in court in Washington.

"From a scant record, the Special Counsel conjures a sinister plot to "corruptly persuade" two of Mr. Manafort's former business associates to perjure themselves at the upcoming trial in September", their filing said.

Manafort messaged and called one of the witnesses shortly after he and business partner Rick Gates were indicted past year on a slew of charges related to their Ukrainian political activities, according to court papers.

Kilimnik has denied to journalists that he has any connection to Russian intelligence. For Manafort, the charges came just before his attorneys argued that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Va.

Manafort's spokesman Jason Maloni said on Friday he was reviewing the new charges.

Mueller has accused Manafort of attempting to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from "The Hapsburg Group", a political discussion group he allegedly worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine, in an effort to influence their testimony or hide evidence in the case.

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The indictment charges that former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and his political party retained lobbyists through Manafort to serve as intermediaries with the former European politicians.

Prosecutors say that the "P" in the message refers to Manafort and that the assertions in the texts are untrue. Kilimnik has denied such ties.

They said Manafort's "limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

So explains a new Bloomberg piece analyzing the importance of Mueller's indictment of Konstantin Kilimnik.

In addition, the formal obstruction of justice charges bolster Mueller's overall case against Manafort.

Manafort has acknowledged staying in frequent contact with Kilimnik during the time he worked for Trump's campaign.

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On Friday, Trump wouldn't rule out pardoning Manafort. Kilimnik later took on more responsibilities, serving as Manafort's liaison to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who paid Manafort to advise him on investments.

US special counsel adds charges against Manafort