Fil­ing ac­cuses Manafort of ly­ing to Mueller team

Al­leged de­cep­tions in­clude con­tacts with White House, Rus­sian

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROS­ALIND S. HEL­DER­MAN, RACHEL WEINER AND SPENCER S. HSU

Spe­cial coun­sel Robert S. Mueller III said Fri­day that Paul Manafort, Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man, told “mul­ti­ple dis­cernible lies” dur­ing in­ter­views with pros­e­cu­tors, in­clud­ing about his con­tacts with an em­ployee who is al­leged to have ties to Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence.

In a doc­u­ment filed in fed­eral court Fri­day, Mueller also said Manafort lied about his con­tacts with Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials af­ter Trump took of­fice. Manafort had told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he had had no di­rect or in­di­rect con­tact with White House of­fi­cials since Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, but Manafort had been in touch with of­fi­cials as re­cently as the spring, ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing.

Manafort told a col­league in Fe­bru­ary — four months af­ter he was in­dicted — that he was in con­tact with a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial through that time. And in a text mes­sage, he au­tho­rized an­other per­son to speak with a White House of­fi­cial on May 26.

The text mes­sage came two

days af­ter Trump re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic­ity for is­su­ing a post­hu­mous par­don to boxer Jack Johnson. Trump has pub­licly mulled the pos­si­bil­ity of par­don­ing Manafort, which le­gal ex­perts have said could be in­flu­enc­ing Manafort to with­hold his full as­sis­tance from Mueller.

Key points in the doc­u­ment filed Fri­day were redacted from pub­lic view, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to gain a full pic­ture of what Manafort was asked in hours of in­ter­views with in­ves­ti­ga­tors since Septem­ber.

As the cam­paign’s for­mer chair­man and a top cam­paign aide from March to Au­gust 2016, Manafort could have been a key first­hand wit­ness for Mueller as the spe­cial coun­sel ex­plores con­tacts be­tween Trump as­so­ciates and Rus­sians. But the doc­u­ment il­lus­trates how fully Manafort’s plea deal has un­rav­eled.

Manafort was con­victed of tax and bank fraud charges in Vir­ginia in Au­gust. He pleaded guilty in Septem­ber to ad­di­tional charges, in­clud­ing con­spir­ing to de­fraud the United States by hid­ing years of in­come and fail­ing to dis­close lob­by­ing work for a pro-Rus­sian po­lit­i­cal party and politi­cian in Ukraine.

That plea helped him avoid a sec­ond trial in Wash­ing­ton and of­fered the for­mer Repub­li­can oper­a­tive the hope of some le­nience in sen­tenc­ing — pro­vided he co­op­er­ated with pros­e­cu­tors and pro­vided truth­ful tes­ti­mony.

Pros­e­cu­tors from Mueller’s team in­formed the judge last week, how­ever, that they be­lieved Manafort had breached the agree­ment by ly­ing to them re­peat­edly.

Manafort’s lawyers have said that Manafort did not be­lieve he lied or vi­o­lated the deal.

In the new fil­ing, pros­e­cu­tors of­fered to lay out at a fu­ture hear­ing ad­di­tional documentary ev­i­dence to ex­plain how they know Manafort is ly­ing. For now, they ex­plained that Manafort had lied “in nu­mer­ous ways,” con­duct they said should be held against him when he is sen­tenced in March.

The pros­e­cu­tors said Manafort has met with spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tors 12 times. At four of those meet­ings, pros­e­cu­tors from out­side the spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice at­tended — a sign that he was ques­tioned in con­nec­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tions sep­a­rate from Mueller’s probe. He also tes­ti­fied twice be­fore Mueller’s grand jury.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Fri­day that Manafort had told nu­mer­ous lies in five dif­fer­ent as­pects of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing about his con­tacts with Kon­stantin Kil­imnik, a Rus­sian em­ployee of Manafort’s po­lit­i­cal con­sult­ing firm who pros­e­cu­tors have said has Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence ties.

Manafort met twice dur­ing the cam­paign with Kil­imnik, in­clud­ing in Au­gust 2016 in New York City. Kil­imnik has told The Wash­ing­ton Post that the two dis­cussed the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign at the New York meet­ing.

Much of a sec­tion of the fil­ing deal­ing with Kil­imnik was redacted, but pros­e­cu­tors in­di­cated that they have ob­tained elec­tronic records, travel doc­u­ments and other ev­i­dence that demon­strate Manafort “lied re­peat­edly” about his in­ter­ac­tions with the Rus­sian aide.

Manafort hired Kil­imnik in 2005 to serve as a trans­la­tor and of­fice man­ager for the Kiev of­fice of his po­lit­i­cal con­sult­ing busi­ness. Kil­imnik was a key li­ai­son for Manafort to politi­cians in Ukraine and to Rus­sian busi­ness­men, no­tably Oleg Deri­paska, an alu­minum mag­nate who had part­nered with Manafort on a busi­ness deal.

Kil­imnik, who is be­lieved to be in Rus­sia, has been charged by Mueller’s of­fice with con­spir­ing with Manafort to ob­struct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Manafort’s work in Ukraine. Ac­cord­ing to the new fil­ing, Manafort pleaded guilty to con­spir­ing with Kil­imnik in an ef­fort to com­pel wit­nesses in Mueller’s probe to give false tes­ti­mony, only to deny it in a post-plea in­ter­view, be­fore re­vers­ing him­self again and con­ced­ing that his plea was truth­ful.

The spe­cial coun­sel also ac­cused Manafort of ly­ing about a $125,000 wire trans­fer. It is un­clear how that trans­ac­tion re­lates to the con­spir­a­cies de­tailed in Manafort’s plea agree­ment, but pros­e­cu­tors said Manafort lied re­peat­edly about de­tails of the trans­ac­tion.

In ad­di­tion, Manafort has been in­ter­viewed in con­nec­tion with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion sep­a­rate from the one be­ing con­ducted by the spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice, ac­cord­ing to the court fil­ing. Pros­e­cu­tors said he has lied in con­nec­tion with that case as well.

Manafort, 69, who is in jail in Alexan­dria, is one of five for­mer Trump cam­paign aides who have pleaded guilty to crimes as part of the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Trump has dis­tanced him­self from his one­time cam­paign chair­man, stress­ing that Manafort worked for him for only a few months.

But Manafort was present for mo­ments that are im­por­tant to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. For in­stance, he at­tended a meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer at Trump Tower ar­ranged by Don­ald Trump Jr. af­ter the pres­i­dent’s son was told the lawyer would share dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton. And he was at Trump’s side in July 2016 as Wik­iLeaks re­leased thou­sands of emails stolen from the Demo­cratic Party.

He also has ex­ten­sive con­nec­tions to busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives and politi­cians in the for­mer Soviet Union, be­cause of his years as an in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant, par­tic­u­larly be­cause of his work for a Rus­sian-backed pres­i­dent of Ukraine.

MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IM­AGES

Paul Manafort, seen head­ing to fed­eral court in Wash­ing­ton in June, was to have been aid­ing the spe­cial coun­sel un­der a plea deal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.