Public To Get Redacted Version Of Manafort Response To Claims He Lied

TPM Illustration. Photos by Getty Images/ Alex Wong/ Elsa
January 8, 2019 10:52 a.m.

The public will see a redacted version of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s claims he lied to investigators, according to a judge’s order Tuesday.

A spokesman for Manafort had previously told TPM Tuesday via email that the “opposition” was filed under seal Monday, the deadline for the submission. Mueller accused Manafort last month of misleading investigators about several topics since coming to a plea agreement with prosecutors in September.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s order Tuesday formally gave Manafort’s lawyer’s permission to file their response to the allegations under seal. However, she instructed that their request explaining why it should be sealed be made publicly available, as well as a redacted version of the response.

At a court hearing last month after Mueller made the allegations, Manafort’s team indicated to the judge that they weren’t yet sure if and what exactly Manafort would be disputing about the claims.

Mueller’s revelation last month that Manafort allegedly misled investigators repeatedly on several topics was a major twist in what has been a more than 15 month long legal drama for the former Trump campaign advisor.

Among the topics Mueller said Manafort lied about were his interactions with Trump administration officials and his dealings with his longtime Ukraine-based business deputy, who Mueller has accused of having links to a Russian intelligence agency.

Manafort had entered plea deal with Mueller in September, just before the case Mueller brought against him in D.C. was set to go to trial. A jury in Virginia last summer found him guilty of federal charges Mueller brought against the former Trump campaign chairman there.

According to Mueller’s court filing in December, Manafort lied about his Trump administration contacts, his interactions with his business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, he and Kilimnik’s witness tampering efforts, payment he made to a firm he worked with in 2017, and a seperate, unspecified Justice Department investigation.

Though the charges Mueller has brought against Manafort mostly stem from lobbying activities that predated Manafort’s work for Trump, the cooperation that Mueller seemed to have secured from him in September was viewed as a major moment in the special counsel’s investigation, and the deterioration of that cooperation as a significant setback. 

Manafort’s lobbying in Ukraine, on behalf of a pro-Russia political party, linked him to several oligarchs with Kremlin ties. Mystery surrounds certain communications he had — namely a message promising one Russian oligarch private briefings — while working on the Trump campaign.

 As the plea deal fell apart, it was also reported that Manafort’s lawyers continued to share information with Trump’s own legal team even after agreeing to cooperating with prosecutors.

Whether those claims will be addressed as part of the proceedings is unclear. Prosecutors can file a reply to Manafort’s opposition by next Monday, and Manafort can respond to that by Jan. 18. If U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson decides the dispute warrants a hearing, it is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 25.

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