Feds Minimize Help to Manafort in New Gates Evidence

A court artist drawing shows President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, center standing and Manafort’s business associate, Rick Gates, in federal court in Washington on Oct. 30, 2017. (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Announcing the discovery of new evidence but downplaying its importance, prosecutors urged a federal judge Wednesday to hold firm in her decision that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort breached his plea deal.

The details, such as they are, came to light in a 6-page memorandum filed this afternoon by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

Nearly obliterated with heavy redactions, the memo says that former Manafort associate Rick Gates reached out to prosecutors following media coverage of the Feb. 13 hearing where U.S. Amy Berman Jackson determined that Manafort intentionally lied in breach of his plea deal.

Gates had been the star witness at Manafort’s trial last year, but prosecutors say he “provided evidence that is helpful to Manafort” during a follow-up interview on Feb. 15. 

Though the details of their discussion is redacted, the filing does suggest that it concerned the nature of Manafort’s interactions and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, a suspected Russian agent and longtime associate of Manafort’s.

Nevertheless, “the government does not believe that this new evidence should affect the court’s ruling that Manafort lied with respect to the subject matter area in general or its finding that Manafort lied,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann wrote, with the rest of the sentence redacted.

Weissmann pointed to “additional and sufficient evidence” that Manafort lied as a reason that U.S. Amy Berman Jackson should not alter her prior ruling.

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