Mueller Hits Manafort With New Charges, This Time for Obstruction of Justice


In a court filing earlier this week, Mueller asked a court to revoke Manafort's pretrial conditions, accusing him and one other person-now identified as Kliminik-of attempting to tamper with witnesses.

Kilimnik is, according to CNN, "a close business colleague of Manafort's who prosecutors have said has close ties to Russian intelligence".

The fresh counts could make it harder for Manafort to avoid jail before he goes on trial for alleged financial crimes that largely predate his time on the Trump campaign. The indictment doesn't give details, but in another court motion earlier this week Mr. Mueller said Mr. Manafort tried to get a witness to lie for him in court.

Last night, some bad news came to light for Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

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The only new information that comes to light with Friday's indictment is the confirmation of the identity of the second person Mueller's prosecutors accuse of contacting the employees of a public relations firm "in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise hide evidence".

The witnesses, who had worked with Manafort as he represented a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, have told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they believed Manafort and Kilimnik were trying to get them to lie about the nature of their work.

Mr Kilimnik was a longtime employee of Mr Manafort's political-consulting firm, had done extensive lobbying work for him in Ukraine on behalf of the country's then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort has repeatedly declared his intention to fight the charges in both jurisdictions. His co-defendant, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

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Also indicted was Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business partner whom Mueller has accused of having ties to Russian intelligence. Because as Renato and I detailed in our piece yesterday, for bail purposes the judge must only determine by the relatively low probable cause standard that Manafort attempted to tamper with witnesses.

Prosecutors said in court documents that Gates had told van der Zwaan that the person described as Kilimnik was a former officer in Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU. However, Kilimkin denied any connections to intelligence agencies in a 2017 interview with the USA government outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The new indictment is here. His trial in Virginia is scheduled to begin in late July.

CNN analyst Phil Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, says Manafort is now more likely to also flip.

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