Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller says in court filing

Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller says in court filing

The Special Counsel's Office has accused Paul Manafort of attempting to shape potential witnesses' testimony and has asked to send him to jail as he awaits his trial, according to a filing in DC District Court on Monday night.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brock Domin wrote in court documents that Manafort "contacted and attempted to contact" two unnamed witnesses, "in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise hide evidence".

According to the court filing, Manafort called and messaged one of the witnesses on 24 February, the day after his longtime associate and a former Trump campaign official entered guilty pleas to conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But prosecutors say they worked with Manafort in organizing a group of former European officials, known as the Hapsburg Group, who promoted Ukrainian interests in Europe as well as the U.S.

Mueller's team is asking a federal judge to hold a hearing to decide whether to revoke Manafort's release.

Manafort faces two indictments in Washington, D.C., and Virginia on charges related to tax fraud and other financial crimes.

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In February, the 69-year-old pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, illegal lobbying and lying, setting up the first trial to result from Mueller's investigation, due to begin on September 17.

In previous filings, Person A has been used to designate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort associate who prosecutors believe has ties to Russian intelligence - something Kilimnik has denied. A minute later, he allegedly followed up by writing, "Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the United States, and the objective of the program was European Union".

The court filing says that Manafort reportedly sought to alert the second witness about the direction the case was taking. Mueller's team claims Manafort has been engaged in a witness tampering, and therefore violated the conditions of his release. The individual immediately ended the call "because he was concerned about the outreach", according to the affidavit. "I have made clear that they worked in Europe".

Court papers also accuse Person A of making several attempts to influence the witnesses' testimony in February and later in April. Those potential witnesses, said to have been principals of a PR firm, are identified only as D1 and D2 in the court filings.

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