Paul Manafort and a longtime business associate were indicted Friday on new charges that they conspired to obstruct justice. The case increases pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he tries to stay out of jail while awaiting trial.
Paul Manafort and a longtime business associate were indicted Friday on new charges that they conspired to obstruct justice. The case ratchets up pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he tries to stay out of jail while awaiting trial, reports the Washington Post. The indictment marked the first charges for Manafort’s associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be in Moscow and probably safe from arrest because Russia does not extradite its citizens. Prosecutors have said Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he denies. For Manafort, the charges came just before his attorneys argued that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Va. He faces a second trial in Washington, D.C., in September.
Prosecutors have accused Manafort and Kilimnik of attempting to sway the testimony of two potential witnesses who might offer evidence against Manafort. Authorities charge that the conduct of Manafort and Kilimnik amounts to witness tampering and have asked a judge to revise or revoke Manafort’s bail package. Manafort’s attorneys denied the allegations and accused special counsel Robert Mueller of conjuring up “a sinister plot” from a scant record of telephone calls and de-encrypted texts. They said Mueller’s “very public and very specious” filing was a pressure tactic on Manafort that may have “irreparably damaged” his right to a fair trial in the District of Columbia, signaling they may seek to move the case to Virginia. The new counts could make it harder for Manafort to avoid jail before he goes on trial for alleged financial crimes that largely predate his time on the Trump campaign. The new charges revolve around allegations that Manafort, 69, and Kilimnik, 47, tried to influence two public-relations executives involved in lobbying work in 2012 on behalf of Ukraine.