Mueller brings new charges against Manafort & Russia-Ukraine associate Konstantin Kilimnik

Special Counsel Robert Mueller today brings new charges against Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort. Also named in the Friday court filing is Manafort's longtime Russia/Ukraine business partner, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Kilimnik was Manafort's 'right-hand man in Kiev,' and they worked together for over a decade. Killimnik will be a name to remember, as the investigation unfolds with compounded charges for Manafort.

Of note, some of the materials presented today by Mueller are WhatsApp messages.

From Chris Geidner, Buzzfeed News:

The superseding indictment — which includes charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice — stems from attempts to contact and communications with people identified in a June 4 filing from the special counsel’s office as D1 and D2.

Manafort, who has been under indictment by the special counsel’s office since this past October, faced a superseding indictment in February that accused him of orchestrating a group, known as the "Hapsburg" group, to engage in an illegal lobbying scheme in the United States on behalf of the Ukrainian government. In the February indictment, Manafort was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering conspiracy, failing to disclose to the US government the extent of his work on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and other Ukrainian entities, and making false statements.

In the June 4 filing, the special counsel’s office — in relation to Manafort’s conditions of release pending trial on the February charges — accused Manafort of trying to tamper with potential witnesses in his case.

D1 and D2 worked for a public relations company that served as "intermediaries" between the Hapsburg group and Manafort, an unidentified “Person A,” and Rick Gates — another Manafort associate who has pleaded guilty and is now cooperating with the special counsel’s office.

“Person A” had been reported to be — or apparently to be — Kilimnik, but Mueller had not named him until Friday’s indictment.

“Following the public disclosure of the February 23 Superseding Indictment, Manafort and Person A—who is a longtime associate of Manafort’s—repeatedly contacted Persons D1 and D2 in an effort to secure materially false testimony concerning the activities of the Hapsburg group,” lawyers for the special counsel’s office wrote in the June 4 filing.

The June 4 filing included an exhibit that

detailed 12 messages sent by “Person A” to D2 and 1 sent to D1.

“Hi. This is [Person A's first initial]. My friend P is looking for ways to connect to you to pass you several messages. Can we arrange that,” Person A wrote to D1 via WhatsApp.

Read the rest.

Also, in the New York Times today, an article which could have been titled, 'Paul Manafort Has No Friends':

Prosecutors assert that Mr. Manafort’s fight included trying to shape the accounts that former business partners offered prosecutors. In court filings this week, they said that starting in late February, Mr. Manafort repeatedly tried to reach the two journalists — with whom he had fallen out of contact until recently — to coordinate their accounts about their work to tamp down international criticism of Mr. Yanukovych for corruption, persecuting rivals and pivoting toward Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin. The prosecutors did not name the journalists, but three people familiar with the project identified them as Alan Friedman and Eckart Sager.

Both men fended off the overtures, which included phone calls and encrypted text messages from Mr. Manafort and a longtime associate, whom prosecutors have not named but was identified by people close to Mr. Manafort as Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a former Russian Army linguist who prosecutors claim has ties to Russian intelligence.

Instead of engaging, Mr. Friedman and Mr. Sager informed Mr. Mueller’s team of the efforts to reach them, according to prosecutors. Mr. Friedman accused Mr. Manafort of trying to “suborn perjury” by persuading him to lie to investigators, according to a declaration by an F.B.I. agent on the case. Neither Mr. Friedman nor Mr. Sager could be reached for comment.

The prosecutors are arguing that because of these allegations, a federal judge should revise the terms of Mr. Manafort’s bail or even send him to jail while he awaits trial. Mr. Manafort, who posted a $10 million bond and has been confined to his home since October, has until Friday at midnight to respond to the prosecutors’ accusations. His spokesman brushed aside prosecutors’ allegations of witness tampering, but declined to comment on Mr. Manafort’s relationship with Mr. Friedman and Mr. Sager.

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