Former Trump staffer Manafort accused of witness tampering

Saul Bowman
June 5, 2018

Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Brock Domin said that Manafort and his associate attempted to reach out to two members of the group, including by means of encrypted messages "in an effort to influence their testimony and otherwise hide evidence".

One of the witnesses told investigators recently that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the USA, the filing said.

In earlier filings, Person A has referred to Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime Manafort associate who prosecutors have said has ties to Russian intelligence.

That person subsequently told the investigators that he, as well as Manafort himself, was well aware of the fact that the group had extended its lobbying to the USA and said that he saw Manafort's intervention as an attempt to influence his testimony.

If a judge were to revoke Manafort's bail conditions and order him to jail pending his two trials this summer, that would intensify the pressure on him to reach a plea deal with prosecutors.

Prosecutors filed the motion Monday in Manafort's pending Washington, D.C., case, which includes charges of filing misleading lobbying disclosure statements, and also noted his alleged tampering in his related tax and bank fraud case in Alexandria, Virginia.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The filings mark the second time prosecutors have complained to the judge about Manafort's behavior awaiting trial. The individual immediately ended the call "because he was concerned about the outreach", according to the affidavit.

Manafort and a confidante first asked the two people to claim that the Ukrainian lobbying work only happened in Europe, effectively attempting to get their stories all on the same page, since all involved knew the group had lobbied Congress, investigators said.

On February 26, Manafort is said to have sent a string of messages to one of his contacts.

Persons D1 and D2 both preserved the messages they received from Manafort and Person A, which were sent on encrypted applications, and have provided them to the government.

Manafort and an associate allegedly reached out to a pair of public relations people who were linked to an alleged conspiracy by Manafort and others to illegally lobby on behalf of Ukraine in the United States. That month, Person A wrote to one of the witnesses, "My friend P is looking for ways to connect to you to pass you several messages".

A witness tampering charge, like lying to the FBI, can be used as evidence to show a guilty mind and may be "enticing to a jury", said one former federal prosecutor.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article