Mueller accuses Manafort of attempted witness tampering

Mueller accuses Manafort of attempted witness tampering

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, attempted to tamper with potential witnesses, Mueller said in a court filing on Monday. They also said an associate of Manafort's tried to contact a potential witness a few times. Mueller's team claims Manafort has been engaged in a witness tampering, and therefore violated the conditions of his release.

Given the weight of the accusations, special counsel Robert Mueller asked a D.C. federal judge to consider revising the terms of his release-he is now under house arrest on a $10 million unsecured bail-or even send him to jail to await trial.

In court documents, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent wrote that at least one witness has said Manafort reached out and seemed to be trying to coach them on what to say about his lobbying practices, The New York Times reports.

Manafort allegedly paid the group some $2.5 million in 2012 and 2013 alone. If successful, Manafort would be sent back to jail while he awaits trial in Washington, DC, one of his two criminal trials on conspiracy, money laundering, and Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violations.

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 Trump's former campaign manager attempted communication while he was out on bail, according to Domin.

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During one call the witness told the government that Manafort identified himself and said he wanted to give "a heads-up about Hapsburg". However, he could not quite manage to do that, as that person hung up on him, telling the investigators that he was concerned by the sudden outreach.

"My friend P is trying to reach [D1] to brief him on what's going on", Manafort's associate allegedly wrote in one Telegram message to Person D2. "I have made clear that [the Hapsburg group] worked in Europe".

Court papers also accuse Person A of making several attempts to influence the witnesses' testimony in February and later in April. Trump wrote in one tweet. A minute later, he allegedly followed up by writing, "Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the United States, and the objective of the program was European Union".

Manafort and onetime colleague Richard W. Gates III were the first to be indicted in special counsel Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Day reported from Alexandria, Virginia.

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