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Russia Probe: Paul Manafort Indicted on Obstruction Charges

11 June 2018

"A defendant in a drug case would have his release revoked and be sent to jail pending trial for violating the terms of his release like this".

Prosecutors said in court documents that Gates had told van der Zwaan that the person described as Kilimnik was a former officer in Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU.

Kilimnik wasn't identified by name in the March filing but Bloomberg has confirmed it referred to him.

Prosecutors have accused Mr Kilimnik of having links to Russian intelligence.

Manafort is now under house arrest, awaiting trials scheduled for Virginia and Washington, D.C., later this year.

Manafort had used Kilimnik to try to resolve his ongoing dispute with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to President Vladimir Putin. Manafort worked with a lobbying firm that enlisted former European politicians, the so-called Hapsburg group, who wrote articles and addressed US politicians. The government accuses Manafort of dodging taxes, failing to register as a foreign agent while working in Washington on behalf of foreign governments, and other charges.

Mueller's initial indictment stemmed from work that Mueller did before he joined the Trump campaign.

Around and between February and April of this year, Manafort and Kilimnik "knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly persuade another person, to wit: Persons D1 and D2, with intent to influence, delay, and prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding", according to the indictment.

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The special counsel's team alleged one witness told investigators that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the United States. Their response asserts that Mueller's argument is "based on the thinnest of evidence".

For Manafort, though, the charges come at a perilous time, just hours before his attorneys filed a legal brief arguing that he should be allowed to be freed from home confinement on bond pending his trial, scheduled for next month in Alexandria, Virginia.

On Friday, Trump also dismissed any talk of pardoning Manafort or his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who is under investigation by federal prosecutors in NY. They accused Mueller of conjuring up a "sinister plot" and said the allegations were meant to generate widespread - and intensely negative - media coverage of Manafort.

The judge in Manafort's case rebuked Mueller's team during a hearing in early May, saying that the prosecutors are more interested in taking down Trump than securing a conviction against Manafort. Manafort's lawyers would find the hard work of trial preparation even more challenging with their client in jail, Zeidenberg said.

Mueller is overseeing the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, along with potential obstruction of justice on the part of the president.

"By 2011, Kilimnik had taken over Manafort's office in Kiev". Prosecutors have previously said Manafort and Gates secretly coordinated an extensive lobbying campaign in the U.S.to benefit Yanukovych before he fled to Moscow in 2014.

The witnesses would eventually rat out Manafort and Kilimnik to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Russia Probe: Paul Manafort Indicted on Obstruction Charges