Manafort case goes silent on night when major filing due

Manafort case goes silent on night when major filing due

The filing was badly redacted, allowing an unintended glimpse at previously undisclosed areas of Mueller's investigation into whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign worked with Russian Federation to influence the election.

While some of the redacted information was not a big deal, there was one section of the failed redaction that appears to shed light on Mueller's understanding of Manafort's roll in the 2016 presidential election. The Associated Press was able to view the redacted material because it wasn't properly blacked out.

The sentences revealed in the filing certify for the first time Mueller's interest in Kilimnik's political actions during the campaign.

The brief discloses, in passages inexpertly redacted and thus available to the public, that Manafort provided to Konstantin Kilimnik, a business partner in Ukraine with a history with Russian intelligence, poll data from the Trump campaign.

Konstantin Kilimnik, is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant and is suspected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as being a Russian intelligence operative. There are two known meetings during the campaign between Manafort and Kilimnik.

What remains unknown is whether Trump or others on the campaign were aware that Manafort provided Kilimnik and Deripaska with polling data. The source of that data, including whether it came from the Trump campaign, is unclear.

Through his spokesman, Manafort has acknowledged discussing the briefings, but said they never occurred.

A hearing has been tentatively scheduled on the matter for January 25 if the judge deems it necessary, though Manafort's attorneys did not request one in the filing Tuesday.

What's the background on Manafort?

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In this photo from June 21, 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.

He led the Trump campaign during the Republican convention when, U.S. intelligence officials say, Russian Federation was working to sway the election in Mr Trump's favour. Manafort was convicted by a jury in a Virginia federal court for eight tax and bank fraud charges.

The defense filing was aimed at rebutting allegations that Manafort intentionally lied to Mueller's team after agreeing to plead guilty last September. They say he suffers from depression and anxiety, has been kept away from his family and, on days when he met with investigators, was awakened before dawn to have hours-long conversations with Mueller's team.

They say the circumstances of his confinement "weighed heavily on Mr. Manafort's state of mind and on his memory" as he was questioned.

What's going to happen next?

"The Trump campaign chairman was sharing campaign polling data with a Russian intelligence asset in the midst of the campaign", said national security lawyer Bradley Moss.

They also said that Mueller alleges Manafort was in contact with someone who asked him permission to use Manafort's name "as an introduction" in the event that the person met the president.

For the two charges he now faces in DC federal court, Manafort could receive 17 to 22 years in prison, his plea agreement says.

Manafort reached the plea agreement with Mueller in September after a jury found him guilty of eight charges of tax evasion and bank fraud by a jury in the USA state of Virginia in August. The lawyers say they don't want a separate hearing before a judge on the lying allegations but will address them instead during the sentencing process.

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