Manafort accused of sharing Trump polling data with Russian operative

Manafort accused of sharing Trump polling data with Russian operative

Before sending the document to a public database for federal court filings, lawyers for Manafort had tried to black out the portion on polling data and other information about Manafort's interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business partner of Manafort's who Mueller has claimed in court filings has ties to Russian intelligence.

The filing sheds light on Manafort's ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian businessman who was charged previous year with tampering with potential witnesses.

The former Trump campaign chief's lawyers said their client has been suffering from gout, anxiety and depression and that he never purposely lied to them during his 12 interview sessions with the special counsel and other prosecutors.

After leveling that accusation, prosecutors filed a heavily-redacted court document describing five areas in which Manafort is accused of lying to government investigators, including misleading statements about his contacts with Trump administration officials.

Manafort's legal team did not respond to an inquiry after midnight Tuesday about whether the document was filed, nor did a spokesperson for the special counsel's office.

In those sections, Manafort's lawyers say he "conceded" having possibly discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr Kilimnik on more than one occasion.

"Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed", they wrote.

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Mr Kilimnik was considered Manafort's right-hand man in Ukraine and has been accused by the special counsel of conspiring to obstruct justice. And in a text message, he authorized another person to speak with a White House official on May 26, they alleged.

However, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson could hold such a hearing if she found it necessary. He pleaded guilty previous year to conspiracy charges in Washington and faces sentencing in a separate case in Virginia, though none of the charges are directly concerned with the alleged collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

Following the filing by Manafort's lawyers, Jackson ordered the government to submit evidence supporting their allegations by January 14, and held out the option of holding a hearing on the matter on January 25.

Manafort, 69, agreed to cooperate with Mueller when he admitted to two conspiracy counts in Washington on September 14, a month after jurors convicted him in Virginia of tax and bank fraud.

The longtime lobbyist is set for sentencing February 8 in Virginia before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria. Both the Virginia and D.C. cases involved his past work for the Ukrainian government.

According to prosecutors, he and Kilimnik contacted potential witnesses in Mueller's investigation, trying to tell them what to say if they were questioned - a federal crime.

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