Paul Manafort unveils an odd excuse for his alleged witness tampering

Paul Manafort unveils an odd excuse for his alleged witness tampering

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his Kiev colleague with obstruction of justice, but nothing related to the 2016 election.

Mueller has a broad mandate to investigate any possible collusion between Trump's 2016 election campaign team and Russian Federation, including possible obstruction of the investigation by President Donald Trump and any others. They accused Mueller of conjuring up a "sinister plot" and said the allegations were meant to generate widespread - and intensely negative - media coverage of Manafort. Gates is cooperating with prosecutors against Manafort.

The two individuals were members of the "Hapsburg group", described by Mueller in the February superseding indictment of Manafort as "a group of former senior European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States".

Kilimnik was an aide to Manafort, before Manafort became Trump's 2016 election campaign chair. After Yanukovych was elected president in 2010, Manafort reportedly stayed on as an adviser and worked on other projects in Eastern Europe, including the Party of Regions political party.

"Manafort and Kilimnik repeatedly contacted Persons D1 and D2 in an effort to secure materially false testimony", prosecutors alleged in court papers.

The pressure against Manafort increased further in February, when Gates cut a plea deal with the special counsel.

UK Supreme Court criticizes Northern Ireland abortion laws
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"That's what this is all about", the former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Business Insider.

The new charges are related to the accusation that Manafort hired a firm of former European officials to illegally lobby in the US on issues related to Ukraine. For that reason, it's unlikely he would have been able to dodge the FARA charge even if the witnesses had agreed to alter their testimony. In addition, the filing says, Manafort's right to a fair trial by impartial jury "may have been irreparably damaged by the Special Counsel's latest, very public and very specious, filing of this motion".

"This indictment could be very important from a political perspective", said Mariotti, a Democrat who is running for IL attorney general.

"It's a big development and a sign Manafort is willing to try anything, do anything, and he's facing some serious time", Schiff told CNN on Monday. "You now have the former chairman of the Trump campaign charged with conspiring with a suspected Russian intelligence operative. This is strong evidence of consciousness of guilt", said Zeidenberg, who prosecuted I. Lewis Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Over in the District of Columbia, Judge Amy Berman Jackson will hold a hearing in Manafort's case on June 15, when she will rule on the prosecutors' motion to revoke Manafort's bail, and jail him until the start of the trial.

Mr Manafort's lawyers had been given a deadline of Friday to respond to the charges of witness tampering.

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