Mueller Hits Manafort With Additional Charges in Russia Probe

Mueller Hits Manafort With Additional Charges in Russia Probe

Prosecutors filed court papers Monday accusing Manafort and Kilimnik of attempting to sway the testimony of two potential witnesses who might offer evidence against Manafort.

Along with his former business associate Rick Gates, Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 on multiple counts that included: conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

New charges were also levied against Manafort, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Russian citizen Konstantin Kilimnik - considered Mr Manafort's right-hand man in Ukraine - is accused of conspiring with Mr Manafort to obstruct justice.

On Friday, the former campaign manager issued a report denouncing allegations by Robert Mueller that he had tampered with witness evidence.

Mueller's accusations centered on work that Manafort arranged a half-decade ago to promote Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who was then Ukraine's president.

None of the charges against Manafort are related to Russian interference in the 2016 elections or any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which Mueller was originally appointed to investigate.

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The timing of these fresh charges couldn't come at a more awkward time, with Mr Trump only this morning calling for the reinstatement of Russian Federation into the G-7.

The legal pressure on Paul Manafort is growing - and now one of his top deputies is joining him in the prosecutorial crosshairs. His co-defendant Gates pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Through a spokesman, Manafort, 69, has maintained his innocence.

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

Manafort's latest round of troubles started early this week, when Mueller's team asked a judge to review his house arrest and to consider jailing him over an alleged attempt to influence witnesses. "What he's trying to do is to get witnesses to say that he believed the group was only doing business in Europe rather than the United States, but the witness knew the group was doing business in the United States". "You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever". "Indeed, previously", Manafort said.

Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence asset, is now under the protection of Moscow and unlikely to ever see an American court room. Manafort's attorneys cite to case law-originally cited by Mueller-showing the arguably high standards necessary to sustain witness tampering charges. The Special Counsel has not provided Mr. Manafort with its witness list.

Emails show that during the middle of the campaign, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about Trump's presidential run to a billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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