Manafort calls new obstruction charges 'dubious'

11 June, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Prosecutors have filed a new indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manfort

A spokesman for Mueller issued a statement on Friday saying: "A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia has returned a third superseding indictment today against Paul J Manafort Jr, 69, of Alexandria, Virginia, which adds Konstantin Kilimnik, 48, of Moscow, Russia, as a defendant and charges both defendants with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice".

Since Feb. 23, Mueller alleges Manafort and Kilimnik have "repeatedly" tried to get in touch with two people connected to the so-called Hapsburg group, a consulting firm made up of Kremlin-friendly European politicians with ties to Yanukovych.

The charges against Manafort and Gates don't relate to allegations of misconduct during Trump's campaign.

Manafort allegedly sent one of the executives a text that said: "We should talk". The spokesman, Jason Maloni, said that Manafort and his attorneys were reviewing the new charges.

The indictment took the number of people indicted by the 13-month-old investigation by independent counsel Robert Mueller to 20, with three companies also indicted.

In the summer of 2016, Manafort emailed Kilimnik and told him to offer private briefings on the US presidential campaign to Deripaska in an effort to resolve the dispute, people close to the situation have said.

The two witnesses reportedly told the Federal Bureau of Investigation they believed Manafort and Kilimnik had been trying to get them to lie about their work. Kilimnik also reached out to witnesses in April.

The obstruction charges come just a week before Manafort is scheduled for a key hearing to determine whether he can remain free pending his trial in Washington on existing federal charges of money laundering and fraud.

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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.

Spectacular Mueller holds may 2017 the proceedings on a wide range of issues, primarily concerning alleged interference by Moscow in the course of the USA presidential race, but the first charges in this case, which he filed on 30 October Manafort not connected to his participation in the election campaign.

The charges mark the second time since his October indictment that Manafort has faced additional criminal charges. Kilimnik was considered by investigators to have been involved trying to set this up, according to The Washington Post last September. He was actually charged with one count of obstruction, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He is now on house arrest at his condo in Alexandria, Virginia, and has a $10 million unsecured bail. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

They argue the limited amount of communications "cannot be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

Kilimnik has denied to journalists that he has any connection to Russian intelligence.

Read on for a look at Manafort's work with the Trump campaign and how he is connected to the Russian Federation investigation. Gates told investigators that he understood Kilimnik to be a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service, and others who worked with Manafort in Ukraine said that Kilimnik did not hide his intelligence background.

"This is an alleged Russian spy committing crimes with the former campaign chairman for Trump", Mariotti said. The July 2016 offer referred to Oleg Deripaska, who has accused Manafort of defrauding him as part of a multimillion-dollar deal several years ago.

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