Trump Campaign Chairman's 'Misstatements' Were 'Unintentional,' His Lawyers Say
Jan 11 2019
The filing did not provide further details on the Madrid meeting or the peace plan, although Mueller has scrutinized a proposal by a Ukrainian lawmaker that involved, among other outcomes, the lifting of USA sanctions on Russian Federation, according to people familiar with the matter.
Kilimnik, who has been charged by Mueller with obstruction of justice for allegedly tampering with witnesses in the Manafort case, has denied ties with Russian intelligence. Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, was indicted in June.
In their response on Tuesday, Manafort's attorneys inadvertently revealed that the special counsel alleges Manafort "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign".
Manafort was viewed as a valuable witness for Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the election until his plea deal broke down in November as a result of the lying accusations. But an unredacted section notes some events occurred while Manafort was managing President Trump's 2016 campaign.
Prosecutors say Manafort breached their plea agreement by lying, but defence lawyers argue that any misstatements were simple mistakes made by a man coping with illness, exhaustion and extensive questioning from investigators.
They contended the 69-year-old Manafort, facing years in prison, had breached the cooperation agreement that was reached when he pleaded guilty to cheating US tax authorities, violating federal lobbying laws and obstructing justice in connection with his long-time lobbying efforts for deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych in the years before he worked on Trump's campaign.
The defence team says Mr Mueller's team has indicated it will not pursue additional charges against Manafort.
The redacted portions could be accessed by copying and pasting portions that are blacked out, meaning anyone with a computer could read what was meant to remain secret. His attorneys added that "it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed".
"Manafort "conceded" that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion", his attorneys quote the special counsel as saying, and "'acknowledged' that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid", without giving a date.
According to The Times, Manafort and Rick Gates, his former business partner and campaign deputy, provided the information in spring 2016, around the time Trump clinched the GOP nomination.
The filing also acknowledges he met Kilimnik in Madrid.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanded in a December 11 hearing that prosecutors provide more details to allow her to determine whether Manafortfailed to fully cooperate as required under his deal, and should face tougher sentencing. He declined to comment on other pieces of the filing.
The information was accidentally revealed in a defence lawyer filing that was meant to be redacted. The lawyers denied Mueller's claim that Manafort lied about a text exchange on May 26, 2018.
Additionally, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against a mystery foreign company for defying a grand jury subpoena related to the special counsel's inquiry.
"For several months Mr. Manafort has suffered from severe gout, at times confining him to a wheelchair, " the lawyers wrote.
Prosecutors said Manafort also lied about the circumstances of a $125,000 wire transfer in 2017.
Manafort, 69, was convicted in August in a separate case in Virginia, for evading taxes on $16m earned as a political consultant in Ukraine and lying to banks to get loans. By pleading guilty, Manafort avoided a second trial on charges that he failed to disclose lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, and that he laundered money.