Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian employee, according to court filing

Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian employee, according to court filing

That's according to a court filing from defense lawyers Tuesday responding to allegations that Manafort has repeatedly lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators.

The information was accidentally revealed in a defence filing that was meant to be redacted. Kilimnik has been charged alongside Manafort with witness tampering as part of Mueller's sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and is believed to have links to the GRU, the Russian intelligence unit blamed for hacking Democrats' emails in 2016. Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Prosecutors also think Manafort and Kilimnik may have met in Madrid, during the campaign, to discuss a possible Ukraine peace plan, according to another passage of the new document.

In the new filing, Manafort's lawyers argue that he didn't lie so much as forget.

Manafort dangled the briefings as he was mired in a dispute with Mr Deripaska over a multi-million-dollar deal involving a Ukrainian cable company. "He also suffers from depression and anxiety and, due to the facility's visitation regulations, has had very little contact with his family".

Manafort joined Trump's presidential campaign in March 2016 and became his campaign chairman in May.

The lawyers wrote that Manafort allegedly misled prosecutors about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, who was Manafort's associate in Ukraine when Manafort was advising the Ukrainian political party, Party of Regions.

The longtime lobbyist is set for sentencing February 8 in Virginia before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria. Tuesday's revelation demonstrates that a member of the Trump campaign was having conversations with a Russian about Ukraine while the campaign was ongoing.

Mueller claimed in a November 26 filing that Manafort breached his plea deal and "committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters". He pleaded guilty previous year to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia, though none of the charges are directly concerned with the alleged collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

Manafort has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia.

Manafort has been imprisoned since June, when a federal judge said he violated his bail by reaching out to potential witnesses in his case.

Mueller accused Manafort in December of authorizing a third party to communicate on his behalf with an "administration official", despite him telling investigators he did not recall direct or indirect communications with administration officials. In return for his cooperation, he hoped to have prosecutors recommend leniency, possibly slicing years off his prison term. And in a text message, he authorized another person to speak with a White House official on May 26, they alleged. Manafort "lied in multiple ways and on multiple occasions", prosecutors wrote, saying "these were not instances of mere memory lapses".

In addition to winning the case against Manafort, Mueller and other federal prosecutors have secured guilty pleas for various offenses from Trump's first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, former campaign aide Rick Gates, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, among others.

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