Failed redaction reveals Paul Manafort's 'lies to FBI'

Filing: Manafort accused of lying about sharing poll data

Filing: Manafort accused of lying about sharing poll data

The defense filing followed an explosive assertion from prosecutor Andrew Weissmann that Manafort had told "multiple, discernible lies", blowing up a plea deal they reached one day before jury selection was scheduled to begin in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

Manafort's lawyers said their client had no reason to misrepresent the truth in his 12 interviews with investigators late past year.

The specifics of the Mueller allegations were not previously known publicly, having been blacked out in a heavily redacted December 7 filing by the Russian Federation collusion prosecutor's team.

Mueller could potentially bring new charges against Manafort.

Manafort's attorneys argue in the filing that he had answered the special counsel's questions truthfully to the best of his ability, but that his work on Ukrainian political events and of the alleged information sharing with Kilimnik "simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue".

Paul Manafort's lawyers filed court documents Tuesday in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's allegations that he violated the terms of his cooperation deal by lying.

Mueller, who is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, said in a court filing in March a year ago that the Federal Bureau of Investigation assesses that Kilimnik "has ties to a Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016".

He led the Trump campaign during the Republican convention when, U.S. intelligence officials say, Russian Federation was working to sway the election in Mr Trump's favour.

Mueller claimed in a November 26 filing that Manafort breached his plea deal and "committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters".

They also said Manafort was awakened before dawn on the days he was interviewed and normally spent the entire day talking with investigators. The pseudo-redacted passages reveal previously unreported details about Manafort's contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Manafort associate with ties to Russian Federation.

In addition, the defense document discloses a meeting in Madrid between Manafort and Kilimnik. Manafort reportedly asked Kilimnik to offer the Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska private briefings on the Trump campaign in exchange for debt forgiveness. While the redactions don't specifically mention the Trump campaign by name, they do mention the "2016 presidential campaign". The request to use Manafort as an introduction to Trump came while Manafort was under indictment in two federal cases.

The defence team says Mr Mueller's team has indicated it will not pursue additional charges against Manafort. Manafort had told investigators he'd 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. The lawyers say they don't want a separate hearing before a judge on the lying allegations but will address them instead during the sentencing process.

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