Special Counsel Accuses Manafort of Tampering With Witnesses

Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion accused President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of tampering with witnesses in a court filing Monday, Newsweek writes.

Mueller asked the judge overseeing the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial. The Special Counsel has indicted Manafort in federal courts in Virginia and Washington, D.C., with an array of allegations from money-laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud. Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

FBI Special Agent Brock Domin, in a declaration filed with Mueller’s motion, said Manafort had attempted to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” a firm he worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine.

The FBI has documents and statements from the two people, as well as telephone records and documents recovered through a search of Manafort’s iCloud account, showing that he attempted communication while he was out on bail, according to Domin.

The communications were “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence,” Domin wrote. “The investigation into this matter is ongoing.”

Manafort is the most senior member of Trump’s campaign to be indicted, though the charges do not relate to campaign activities. The former campaign chairman allegedly made tens of millions attempting to launder the reputation of the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian government ousted in the Maidan revolution in 2014, and failing to register this work.

The Special Counsel urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson to “promptly” schedule a hearing on whether to change Manafort’s conditions of release, which could result in Manafort going to jail.

The Washington trial is set to start on September 17, while Manafort’s other trial, on tax fraud charges, is due to start next year.

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