Trump Rips Into Justice Department/FBI for Not Warning Him About Manafort

Trump Rips Into Justice Department/FBI for Not Warning Him About Manafort

Late a year ago, federal agents discovered that Manafort was attempting to ghostwrite an opinion piece in Ukraine even though he was under a gag order in the case.

Jason Maloni says in a statement that Manafort is innocent and "nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense". Manafort sent another encrypted text two days later: "We should talk".

Then in March he pleaded not guilty to charges of bank and tax fraud, setting up a separate trial for July 10.

The new allegation places even more pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman, who has stared down prosecutors as they heaped charges on him and say they continue to investigate the possibility that he coordinated with Russians during the 2016 presidential election.

The court documents do not name Manafort's associate, but they refer to him as "Person A" and note the pseudonym is consistent with previous filings in the case. Reached Tuesday, Kilimnik declined comment. They lobbied and conducted public relations work in Europe and the 2012 and 2013, US prosecutors said in court filings. If prosecutors introduce the charge at Manafort's trial, "it will change the feel of the case with respect to the judge", said Alex Whiting, a former assistant United States attorney from Boston and Washington, DC who is now a professor at Harvard Law School.

The group's work factors into an indictment against Manafort that accuses him of acting as an unregistered foreign agent by lobbying in the US on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Prosecutors provided the judge with a summary of contacts they said were made with potential witnesses between February and April this year.

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Through the so-called Hapsburg Group, the politicians - said to include Italy's former Prime Minster Romano Prodi - were paid more than 2 million euros ($2.34 million) from overseas accounts controlled by Manafort.

According to the court document, he had sought to suborn perjury from witnesses who would be called to testify regarding the activities of the so-called "Hapsburg group" which allegedly carried out unlawful lobbying for Ukraine. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday accused Manafort of attempting to tamper with witness testimony and subsequently asked the court to revoke or restrict the terms of Manafort's release.

Also that week, on February 23, Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators and would cooperate with prosecutors, making Manafort's case an even more hard one to overcome. The individual immediately ended the call "because he was concerned about the outreach", according to the affidavit.

"Mueller's action should send a message loud and clear - as Mueller's prosecutions of false statements should - that Mueller takes extremely seriously attempts to distort our system of justice and the rule of law", said former Manhattan federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah. Unlike him, they have worked out plea deals with prosecutors and are co-operating with the main inquiry.

Manafort and a confidante first asked the two people to claim that the Ukrainian lobbying work only happened in Europe, effectively attempting to get their stories all on the same page, since all involved knew the group had lobbied Congress, investigators said. The reason, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, was that Manafort had attempted to influence witness testimony in the Russian Federation probe.

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