Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Russians, prosecutors allege

Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Russians, prosecutors allege

Paul Manafort's lawyers did a shoddy job redacting a new court filing - inadvertently revealing that he's accused of sharing polling data from the 2016 presidential election with an alleged Russian spy.

In the court papers filed Tuesday, Manafort's lawyers claimed that "he attempted to live up to the requirements of his cooperation agreement and provided meaningful cooperation relating to several key areas under current government investigation".

However, Mueller voided the cooperation agreement with Manafort after the former campaign chairman lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as to his team, about contacts he had with Trump administration officials and his connections to Russian-linked intelligence officers two months after reaching a plea deal, according to the special counsel.

Manafort was among the first Americans charged in Mueller's investigation and has been among the central characters in the case, having led the campaign during the Republican convention and as, United States intelligence officials say, Russian Federation was working to sway the election in Trump's favor.

"The same is true with regard to the Government's allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign", they wrote.

The details are the closest public assertion yet in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's cases of coordination between a Trump campaign official and the Russian government, as Kilimnik is believed to be linked to Russian military intelligence.

Kilimnik has always been suspected to be central to Mueller's investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Manafort is suffering from depression and anxiety and is at times confined to a wheelchair because of gout. While the redactions don't specifically mention the Trump campaign by name, they do mention the "2016 presidential campaign".

In the filing Manafort's lawyers said they would not seek an evidentiary hearing to contest Mueller's allegations of lying, arguing that such factual matters could be addressed in a pre-sentencing report.

When Manafort pleaded guilty in September in Berman Jackson's court, he promised to cooperate fully with Mueller's office and other Justice Department probes in return for a recommendation of leniency at sentencing.

The lawyers for Donald Trump's former campaign chairman were given a midnight deadline by the judge to file the documents. Mueller broke off the plea agreement November 26 telling a judge who will oversee sentencing that Manafort continued to commit crimes, which violated the arrangement.

Mueller accused Manafort in December of authorizing a third party to communicate on his behalf with an "administration official", despite him telling investigators he did not recall direct or indirect communications with administration officials. The second example identified by the Special Counsel is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement (or any witness statements that form the basis for alleging intentional falsehoods). Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence, was indicted in June.

Manafort was found guilty in August on eight counts of tax and bank-fraud in a Virginia case related in part to his work as an unregistered foreign lobbyist.

The request to use Manafort as an introduction to Mr Trump came while Manafort was under indictment in two federal cases.

Manafort will not ask for a hearing regarding the prosecution's accusations, according to the filings. His attorneys say only that they have not seen evidence from the special counsel indicating Manafort's version of events is untrue.

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