Mueller's latest indictment is a mixed bag for Trump

09 June, 2018, 21:34 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for a court hearing in Washington D.C. on May 2

As expected, special counsel Robert Mueller filed a criminal charge against Ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Friday.

The charges, which were filed in Washington DC on Friday, came days after Mr Mueller asked a judge to revoke Mr Manafort's $10m (£7.5m) bail, which has allowed him to remain under house arrest at his Virginia home, over the witness-tampering accusations.

The special counsel said in a statement its third superseding indictment against Mr Manafort added Konstantin Kilimnik as a defendant and charges both men with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.

Kilimnik, also a political consultant, specifically helped Manafort and Gates in their effort to elect Party of Regions candidate Viktor Yanukovych to Ukraine's presidency and to help him lobby the U.S between 2006 and 2014. Kilimnik was also involved in that episode.

Manafort's attorneys said Friday the new charges on based on slim evidence: an 84-second phone call and text messages between Manafort and the two former business associates.

Mr Manafort is the most senior member of Mr Trump's campaign to be indicted, though the charges do not relate to campaign activities.

Kilimnik worked with Manafort in Ukraine during that time, and during the 2016 election they were reportedly in regular contact.


Friday's indictment names Kilimnik as an employee of the global arm of Manafort's lobbying firm, DMP worldwide, or DMI.

In the days that followed and through April, Manafort and Kilimnik suggested the two witnesses who worked on the Hapsburg group project say the group focused on Europe and "never lobbied in the USA", according to an encrypted message between Kilimnik and one witness that prosecutors obtained.

According to court filings, after Manafort was charged in February with failing to follow legal requirements to register as a lobbyist on behalf of a foreign government, he and Kilimnik repeatedly contacted the two executives to emphasize that their past work together did not involve American officials, and therefore did not constitute lobbying in the United States.

Paul Manafort leaves the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after a status conference on November 2, 2017.

They said Manafort's "limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

In emails, portions of which were read to The Washington Post, Manafort and Kilimnik appeared to discuss how Manafort could use his role with the campaign to make money.

He was described as the intermediary through which Manafort volunteered to brief his onetime client, aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, about the Trump campaign.

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