Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Manafort blasts Mueller's 'dubious' accusation of attempted witness tampering

Manafort blasts Mueller's 'dubious' accusation of attempted witness tampering

They said prosecutors had conjured a "sinister plot" in accusing him of witness tampering and said most of the communication cited by Mueller's team are "irrelevant, innocuous and unsupportive" of the government's accusation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges, from money-laundering to failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud. Earlier this week, Mueller's office accused Manafort of witness tampering, alleging that he and an associate - only identified as "Person A" - tried to get two witnesses to lie about lobbying work for Ukraine.

The legal pressure on Paul Manafort is growing - and now one of his top deputies is joining him in the prosecutorial crosshairs.

Manafort is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump - he has a condo in Trump Tower - but was only officially with the campaign for less than six months before he was ousted.

In addition, the formal obstruction of justice charges bolster Mueller's overall case against Manafort. "You now have the former chairman of the Trump campaign charged with conspiring with a suspected Russian intelligence operative".

In the case of the former Mr. Manafort reached out to suggest they talk about details of matters under investigation. Manafort had been close to getting court approval for a $10 million bail deal that would permit him to remain on electronic monitoring at home. For example, a headline on the conservative Daily Caller website read: "Mueller issues new indictment against Manafort and Ukrainian business partner that have nothing to do with collusion". He is set to appear in federal court on June 15 for a hearing on whether his pretrial release will be revised or revoked, Reuters reported. The allegation suggests Manafort may be running out of options to combat a major charge Mueller filed against him previous year.

"Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense", Manafort spokesperson Jason Maloni told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday.

Horowitz's report is expected to be highly critical of Comey, who was sacked by Trump past year, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch over their handling of the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while she served as secretary of State. According to Mueller, the two associates helped coordinate a group of ex-European politicians known as the Hapsburg Group, who promoted Ukraine's Party of Regions in Europe and the United States.

The document played down the notion that an 84-second telephone call and a few text messages between Manafort and an unnamed associate - referred to as "Person A" - and two former business associates, was grounds for tampering with evidence. A witness told investigators recently that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the USA, a filing in DC District Court said.

Russian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik was also indicted.

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