Spectacular Mueller was charged with the Floor of Manufactu
Spectacular Mueller was charged with the Floor of Manufactu
Ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort faces more charges in Russia inquiry
11 June, 2018, 14:17
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington marked the first such charges for Manafort's associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow - and therefore probably safe from arrest because Russian Federation does not extradite its citizens.
For Manafort, though, the charges come at a perilous time, just hours before his attorneys filed a legal brief arguing that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Virginia.
The case now accuses both Manafort and Kilimnik, 48, of Moscow, of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, meaning they allegedly worked together to contact two possible witnesses in Manafort's case since February.
The alleged coverup stems from work Manafort, Kilimnik and others did with former European politicians, referred to informally as the "Hapsburg group", to advocate on Ukraine's behalf to USA and European officials.
Russia collusion investigator Robert Mueller socked former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with new obstruction of justice charges today, and also charged for the first time Manafort's Russian fixer Konstantin Kilimnik.
Manafort's lawyers filed a response Friday that "the Special Counsel contrives dubious allegations".
However, Manafort hit back at what he called a dubious plot meant to corruptly persuade his former business associates to perjure themselves at the upcoming trial in September.
According to the Prosecutor, between 2006 and 2014 Manafort and his partners Richard gates and kilimnik "participated in a lobbying campaign worth millions of dollars in the United States", working with the ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Party of regions and the government of Ukraine. "You now have the former chairman of the Trump campaign charged with conspiring with a suspected Russian intelligence operative".
Investigators claimed that the "repeated" contacts occurred while Manafort was under house arrest, as a condition of his release pending the trials in Washington and Virginia. Manafort pleaded not guilty and is fighting the charges in court. The individuals shared communications with prosecutors, the government said.
In Friday's indictment, Mueller accused Kilimnik of taking part in the covert lobbying scheme and of trying to influence potential witnesses.
According to the witnesses, Manafort and Kilimnik appeared to be pressuring them to say the Hapsburg group only worked in Europe, when they knew that they had been secretly paid to lobby in the U.S. Several of the politicians involved have denied any wrongdoing. Neither does the alleged obstruction of justice in connection with the previously pending charges.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 19, 2013.
The men continued to work together for a successor party to Yanukovych's after he fled Ukraine in February 2014 amid protests of his regime's corruption and pivot toward Moscow, eventually arriving in Russian Federation and effectively ending his presidency.
They said Manafort's "limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".
Kilimnik worked with Manafort in Ukraine during that time, and during the 2016 election they were reportedly in regular contact.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, was promoted to campaign manager in May 2016, and stayed until August 2016, having played a major role during the Republican National Convention.
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