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

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washi

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washi

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday denied allegations from special counsel Robert Mueller that he engaged in witness tampering.

The office of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted Russians before in its Russia investigation, but so far none of them have been extradited to face the charges inside the United States.

Mariotti also highlighted how unusual it was for a defendant like Manafort, who is being monitored and is facing federal charges, to make such a risky move while awaiting trial. In white-collar investigations, agents and prosecutors often try to turn defendants into witnesses against other suspects, "flipping" those people to climb higher up the organization. That would have been at the same time that Rick Gates, another Trump campaign aide, was communicating with him-and just weeks before the USA presidential election. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's lead lawyers, declined to comment.

The latest charges increase Manafort's legal jeopardy if he continues an aggressive battle with prosecutors, and could be an effort by Mueller to induce a guilty plea and secure the testimony of a critical campaign adviser to Trump.

Kilimnik has also drawn the scrutiny of congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Kilimnik wasn't identified by name in the March filing but Bloomberg has confirmed it referred to him.

"Going to the grand jury for a superseding indictment underlines how serious the government is about Manafort's conduct, " said Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney in Alabama during the Obama administration. "We have an indictment of a Russian and an American working together for the first time", he said. Mueller's team is asking a judge to review his house arrest and to consider jailing him. Their response asserts that Mueller's argument is "based on the thinnest of evidence". His bail could be revoked and Manafort may be sent to prison until his scheduled trial.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a hearing, May 23, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Mr Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, has asked the judge overseeing the case in US District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Mr Manafort ahead of his trial.

The indictment charges that former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and his political party retained lobbyists through Manafort to serve as intermediaries with the former European politicians. Deripaska had agreed to invest $18.9 million in a private equity deal led by Manafort to buy a Ukrainian cable company in 2007.

It weakens the president's "witch hunt" cry but does not offer any new indication that his campaign participated in Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Additionally, Manafort made one 84-second phone call to Person D1 on February 24.

Phang said the new indictment might get Mueller closer to proving there was a criminal conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 election.

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