Judge sets hearing on Manafort witness tampering allegations

06 June, 2018, 12:49 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Bill Clark  CQ Roll Call  Newscom via ZUMA

Donald Trump's former campaign manager stands accused of witness tampering and could be sent to jail before his trial on money laundering and illegal lobbying charges that are part of a long running investigation into alleged election meddling by Russian Federation.

Manafort faces trial in July on charges of fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in bank loans.

Trump has recently tried to distance himself from his beleaguered former campaign head, tweeting on Sunday that "Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time".

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which includes conspiracy against the US, money laundering, bank and wire fraud.

The former politicians, who were paid more than 2 million euros for their work, did not disclose they were being paid for lobbying, as required by USA law, Mueller's office charged.

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According to a new court filing, which cites Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brock Domin, Manafort and his associate, denoted in the document as "Person A", reached out to two witnesses associated with Manafort's past lobbying activities in an apparent attempt to coach their stories.

Following Manafort's late October 2017 indictment, filings by Mueller made several references to his partner in Ukraine. According to press reports, the associate appears to be Manafort's Ukrainian business colleague, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Manafort is now facing charges in two criminal cases that accuse him of bank fraud, tax evasion and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. They lobbied and conducted public relations work in Europe and the U.S.in 2012 and 2013, USA prosecutors said in court filings.

Manafort has also been indicted on federal tax-related charges in Alexandria, Virginia.

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.

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If the judge believes Manafort attempted to interfere with witnesses, they will likely be less lenient toward the defense team, particularly when it comes to potentially close calls in a criminal trial, Whiting added, which could prove disastrous for the former Trump campaign chairman.

After that, an associate - referred to as Person A in the documents - also tried to contact the two witnesses.

"This is paul", the first encrypted text message that the government obtained said. "I have made clear that they worked in Europe".

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to respond by Friday to the government's bid to revoke or revise his release and set a June 15 hearing on the matter, according to a court filing.

Gates, who had also served on the Trump campaign, was also charged in the 2017 indictment but he has since pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation under a deal.

Manafort tried to tamper with witnesses, Mueller says
The individual then hung up "because he was concerned about the outreach", according to the affidavit. I think, however, they were doing a number on Trump himself.

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