Manafort case goes silent on night when major filing due
11 January, 2019, 11:09 | Author: Donnie King
The court filing was meant to rebut Mueller's contentions that Manafort continued to lie to investigators after agreeing to a plea deal for limited charges that would avert a trial on a number of other counts.
An unnamed person with knowledge of the situation told the Times that Manafort and his longtime business deputy Rick Gates shared the polling with the Russian, Konstantin Kilimnik, whom Mueller in previous court filings has alleged maintained links to a Russian intelligence agency including in 2016.
Manafort was among the first Americans charged in Mueller's investigation and has been among the central characters in the case, having led the campaign during the Republican convention and as, U.S. intelligence officials say, Russian Federation was working to sway the election in Trump's favor.
The disclosure emerged in a legal brief filed by Manafort's defense lawyers, who are resisting the idea he intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, lies that the investigators said should torpedo his plea deal. Tuesday's revelation demonstrates that a member of the Trump campaign was having conversations with a Russian about Ukraine while the campaign was ongoing. While the redactions don't specifically mention the Trump campaign by name, they do mention the "2016 presidential campaign".
Prosecutors say Manafort breached their plea agreement by lying, but defence lawyers argue that any misstatements were simple mistakes made by a man coping with illness, exhaustion and extensive questioning from investigators.
Manafort, 69, agreed to cooperate with Mueller when he admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington on September 14, a month after jurors convicted him in Virginia of tax and bank fraud. Manafort has "suffered from severe gout and is suffering, at times confining him to a wheelchair", the court papers say. In other words, it's possible that this is a window into Trump campaign collusion, but it's also possible that it's just Manafort personally trying to, as he put it, "get whole" with Deripaska-something we already knew he was doing aggressively.
Manafort has been in jail since June 2018, after prosecutors accused him of attempting to sway witness' testimony against him while he was under house arrest.
Manafort is expected to be sentenced in Virginia on February 8 and separately in D.C. on March 5.
They add the other example of alleged contact with administration officials "is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement". The US believes he is connected to Russian intelligence, but Kilimnik, who is not in US custody, has denied those ties.
She may hold a hearing on January 25 to determine whether Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying.
Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia. The request to use Manafort as an introduction to Trump came while Manafort was under indictment in two federal cases. Manafort "lied in multiple ways and on multiple occasions", prosecutors wrote, saying "these were not instances of mere memory lapses".
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.
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