Manafort accused of lying about sharing polling data with Russian

Clay Curtis
January 9, 2019

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.

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". Reuters did not independently review the filing, which was soon replaced in the public database with a properly redacted version. Court filings submitted by lawyers on Tuesday revealed that Manafort lied about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a lobbyist linked to Russian intelligence.

L.V. Anderson is Digg's managing editor.

In those sections, Manafort's lawyers say he "conceded" having possibly discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr Kilimnik on more than one occasion. Prosecutors say Manafort breached their plea agreement by lying, but defense lawyers argued that any misstatements were simple mistakes made by a man coping with illness, exhaustion and extensive questioning from investigators.

"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 added in the redacted section.

At a hearing in December, the federal judge overseeing Manafort's case in Washington D.C. asked the government to provide some "underlying evidence" to support the scant details they've offered about the content of his alleged lies.

He accepted a plea deal on his other charges in exchange for co-operating with Mr Mueller's inquiry.

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Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said the Madrid trip mentioned in the filing occurred in January or February 2017 - months after Manafort was ousted from the campaign and as Mr Trump was taking office. A week after Mueller's court filing, a Vox report alleged that Manafort's communications may have dealt with him suggesting methods that the administration could use to combat Mueller's investigation in the media.

The documents also reveal that prosecutors accused Manafort of lying about his contact with administration officials after Mr Trump took office.

In his rebuttal to the special counsel's claims of dishonesty, Manafort exposed details of the dispute, much of which centers on his relationship with Kilimnik.

Prosecutors had accused Manafort of telling "multiple discernible lies" over the course of 12 interviews with investigators and two grand jury appearances since his guilty plea in September in Washington to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice through his undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian politician in Ukraine.

Media captionDonald Trump: "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort" What's next?

If he is found to have intentionally lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government could seek a tougher sentence - including a maximum of life in prison.

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