16:09, June 08 31 0 abajournal.com

2018-06-08 16:09:05
Mueller charges Manafort and Ukrainian business associate Kilimnik with obstruction

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces two obstruction counts in a superseding indictment filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Prosecutors allege Manafort and a new defendant, Ukrainian business colleague Konstantin Kilimnik, tried to influence the testimony of two lobbyists about their work on behalf of the government of Ukraine. Manafort and Kilimnik are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The New York Times, Politico and the Wall Street Journal have coverage.

Manafort had been charged with failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, and the special counsel now claims he tried to influence potential witnesses to testify that their lobbying group operated only in Europe. The superseding indictment was filed in Washington, D.C., federal court.

The special counsel’s office had first made allegations of witness tampering in a motion filed Monday that suggested Manafort may need to be jailed pending trial. Prosecutors said Manafort and an associate, now identified as Kilimnik, tried to contact the potential witnesses by phone and through encrypted text messages. Kilimnik is believed to be living in Russia.

Manafort remains accused of conspiracy to launder millions of dollars made from Urkainian work, in addition to making misleading statements in a document about his lobbying work and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. He was originally charged last October.

Manafort was also charged with bank fraud, tax evasion and failure to report foreign bank accounts in a separate indictment filed in Virginia federal court in February.