U.S. prosecutors file charges against alleged Russian spy in Manafort case

Glen Norman
June 11, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has added charges for obstruction of justice to the indictment of Paul Manafort on Friday.

According to an indictment unsealed Friday, Mueller slapped Manafort and a longtime Russian associate named Konstantin Kilimnik with obstruction of justice charges for allegedly trying to tamper with a witness.

And Kilimnik also has been described as the person with "ties to a Russian intelligence service" in court documents relating to two other people in the Manafort-Ukraine business: Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, and a London attorney, Alex van der Zwaan. "It's certainly far too early to be thinking about that".

A GOP operative who worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Manafort reportedly began his work in Republican politics in the 1970s.

A special counsel is prosecuting Manafort for his work with the Ukrainian government, and a judge issued a gag order on the case.

Manafort has acknowledged staying in frequent contact with Kilimnik during the time he worked for Trump's campaign. The previously pending charges against Manafort of course had nothing to do with the synthetic collusion hyseteria over the 2016 election.

Along with his former business associate Rick Gates, Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 on multiple counts that included: conspiracy against the USA, conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Citing the allegations, prosecutors have asked Jackson to consider jailing Manafort.

Mueller also accused Manafort of secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

The charges allege that between February 23 and April 2018, both 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".

The witnesses worked with Manafort in organizing a group of former European officials who lobbied within the US without registering as required by law.

Manafort could have violated federal laws if he lobbied for the ex-Ukrainian leader in the US without registering as a foreign agent. He was actually charged with one count of obstruction, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. "Closer scrutiny of this 'evidence" reveals that the Special Counsel's allegations are without merit because Mr. Manafort's limited communications can not be fairly read, either factually or legally, to reflect an intent to corruptly influence a trial witness".

The Epoch Times previously laid out how a select group of Obama-administration officials orchestrated an expansive spy operation against the Trump campaign that included national security letters-a type of secret subpoena-Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, at least one spy, the unmasking of American citizens in intelligence reports, and spying conducted by foreign intelligence agencies.

Emails show that during the middle of the campaign, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about Trump's presidential run to a billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deal was the subject of a long-running legal dispute, with Deripaska claiming Manafort had defrauded him.

Information for this article was contributed by Chad Day, Eric Tucker and Jill Colvin of The Associated Press; by Kenneth P. Vogel of The New York Times; and by Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. Helderman of The Washington Post.

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