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Mueller accuses Paul Manafort, ex-Trump campaign manager, of witness tampering

05 June 2018
Mueller accuses Paul Manafort, ex-Trump campaign manager, of witness tampering

Prosecutors are accusing former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of witness tampering as he awaits trial on conspiracy and money laundering charges - and they asked a judge to end his house arrest and consider pre-trial detention.

In court documents, prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that Mr. Manafort tried to contact witnesses by phone and through an encrypted messaging program.

Mueller's team is asking a federal judge to hold a hearing to decide whether to revoke Manafort's release.

One of the witnesses told investigators recently that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the U.S., the filing said. Early in the case, after he was released to his home, they investigators said they intercepted emails showing Manafort helped write an opinion piece defending his actions that ran in a Ukrainian publications. Manafort was indicted in two courts on charges completely unrelated to the initial objective of the investigation, which has yet to produce any solid evidence in support of the collusion or obstruction claims.

On Sunday, Trump complained that the FBI didn't inform him that his own campaign chairman was under investigation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Manafort has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

Mueller has indicted Manafort in federal courts in Washington and Virginia.

According to a February indictment, Manafort in 2012 and 2013 used offshore accounts to wire more than 2 million euros to pay the former politicians, who were described as independent actors instead of paid lobbyists.

Paul Manafort has been accused in an indictment of acting as an unregistered foreign agent by lobbying in the USA on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

When senior members of the Trump campaign, including Manafort, met with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower who was offering dirt on then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. His ally, Donald Trump, has been distancing himself from Manafort while simultaneously seeming to suggest that there is a pardon waiting for him, should he remain loyal. "I have made clear that they worked in Europe".

However, he became the center of Mueller's investigation, whose focus has recently shifted from seeking proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the run-up to the 2016 election, to looking into alleged obstruction of justice by Trump and his associates.

Court documents do not name Manafort's associate, but they refer to him as "Person A" and note the pseudonym is consistent with previous filings in the case.