Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III have intensively scrutinized Paul Manafort’s activities after President Trump’s election — including after Manafort was criminally charged — and indicated they have extensive details not yet made public about Manafort’s interactions with former Russian aide Konstantin Kilimnik and others, a Tuesday court filing showed.
Although heavily redacted, the documents state that Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, claimed he was trying to get people appointed in the new presidential administration. The filing also states that in another Justice Department investigation, Manafort provided information that appears related to an event while he was with the campaign in August 2016.
Prosecutors also showed keen interest in a $125,000 payment made in June 2017 that Manafort characterized in three ways that were contradicted, the filing says, by his tax filings and exchanges with his tax preparer.
Prosecutors filed a 31-page affidavit from an FBI agent, plus another 406 nearly fully blacked-out exhibits, after a federal judge last week ordered them to lay out the “factual and evidentiary basis” for their claims that Manafort lied repeatedly after his plea deal and has breached his cooperation agreement.
The filing in federal court in Washington asserts that Manafort shifted answers to questions posed by the FBI and Mueller probe investigators, prompting his lawyers to pull him aside on several occasions to review statements.
In one interview with investigators and prosecutors in October 2018, the filing states, Manafort’s attorneys requested a break to speak with Manafort after he contradicted his prior statement — even after his lawyers had shown him a typewritten summary of it.
The statement came in a separate criminal investigation by a U.S. attorney outside the District and described events around an incident that Manafort said occurred before he left the Trump campaign on Aug. 19, 2016, according to information in the new filing.
Manafort’s attorneys have previously said that any misstatements on his part after his plea agreement were unintentional.
Revelations about Manafort’s 2016 interactions with Russian associate show special counsel’s intense focus on Russia contacts
Manafort, 69, pleaded guilty in September in federal court in Washington to charges that he conspired to cheat the Internal Revenue Service, violate foreign-lobbying laws and tamper with witnesses. Separately, a jury in federal court in Virginia convicted Manafort in August of bank and tax fraud.
He is awaiting sentencing in both cases.
Manafort’s defense team disclosed the nature of several of the disputed statements made to prosecutors after his cooperation agreement in sections of a court filing made public Jan. 8. The filing, entered under seal the day before, included passages that were supposed to be redacted but instead erroneously revealed that Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Kilimnik, a Russian employee who began working for Manafort’s consulting business in 2005.
The FBI says Kilimnik was linked to Russian intelligence, according to information prosecutors filed last year in court.
The botched redactions did not make clear the source of the polling information but indicate a pathway by which the Russians could have had access to Trump campaign data.
Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow, was charged in June with conspiring with his former boss to obstruct Mueller’s investigation.
According to other bungled redactions in the defense team’s filing, Mueller has accused Manafort of lying about his contacts with Kilimnik, including discussions Manafort and Kilimnik had about a Ukrainian peace plan during the 2016 campaign; a meeting between the pair while they were in Madrid; and Kilimnik’s alleged role in the witness tampering effort to which Manafort pleaded guilty.
Separately, prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about having no contact with Trump administration officials after they took office — allegations repeated in the redacted Tuesday filing.
In the filing, prosecutors said files in Manafort’s computer showed that in March 2018 — four months after being indicted — Manafort was in contact with a senior administration official and authorized another person via text message to speak with a White House official on May 26.
“If I see POTUS one on one next week, am I ok to remind him of our relationship?” one person texted Manafort that day, prosecutors revealed in Tuesday’s filing.
Manafort responded, “Yes” and “Even if not one on one.”
Manafort’s attorneys previously have called the allegation about contact with a senior administration official hearsay. They said that the other exchange involved a person “asking permission to use Mr. Manafort’s name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the President,” which “does not constitute outreach by Mr. Manafort to the President.”
Mueller says Manafort told ‘discernible lies,’ including about contacts with an employee alleged to have Russian intelligence ties
Prosecutors allege that Manafort has told “multiple discernible lies” in the course of 12 interviews and two grand jury appearances since he pleaded guilty in September to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice through his undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian politician in Ukraine.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia set a Jan. 25 hearing to determine whether Manafort breached a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to recommend leniency that could slice years from Manafort’s time behind bars if he cooperated fully and truthfully with them.
The longtime Republican consultant already faces a possible maximum 10-year prison sentence in his District case under federal guidelines for conspiring to cheat the IRS, violate foreign-lobbying laws and tamper with witnesses. That time could come in addition to his punishment for the tax and bank fraud charges in Virginia.
Manafort faces sentencing March 5 on the charges in Washington and Feb. 8 on those in Alexandria.
His attorneys wrote that Manafort had trouble recollecting certain details partly because solitary confinement at the Alexandria jail has “taken a toll on his physical and mental health.”
Rosalind S. Helderman and Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.
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