Redacted Filing Backs Up Claims of Manafort Lies to Feds

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge on Tuesday unsealed a 31-page filing that details alleged lies former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort told the government about his financial dealings, interactions with an accused Russian spy and contacts with members of the Trump administration.

Paul Manafort leaves the federal courthouse in Washington on Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The filing publicly released Tuesday is heavily redacted, rendering large portions of the document tantalizingly incomprehensible. A declaration from an FBI agent assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, the document accuses Manafort of changing his story about multiple incidents when confronted with evidence across 12 meetings with the Special Counsel’s Office and two appearances before a grand jury.

Mueller’s office says the lies are a breach of Manafort’s plea deal with the government, though Manafort’s attorneys have insisted they were mistakes and the result of his ever-worsening health.

The declaration says Manafort lied about his contacts with the Trump administration, telling one unnamed person they could mention Manafort’s name if they were able to get a “one on one” meeting with President Donald Trump.

“Evidence demonstrates that Manafort had contacts, and tried to have contacts, through others, with the administration,” the document states.

In addition, the document says Manafort changed his story about “another DOJ investigation,” offering a “more incriminating” version of events before signing his plea agreement and a “more benign” one after.

The details of the other investigation are largely redacted, though one portion references some action Manafort took after a meeting “but prior to his leaving the campaign.” The document says Manafort “largely retracted” the “benign” version when the inconsistency was pointed out to him.

The filing also expounds on Mueller’s claims that Manafort lied about his interactions with accused Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik, though many of the details are hidden behind black redaction bars. The least redacted portion of the document says Manafort downplayed Kilimnik’s involvement with a witness-tampering effort to which Manafort pleaded guilty.

“Subsequently, in an interview on October 16, 2018, after his guilty plea, Manafort denied Kilimnik’s knowing involvement in the conspiracy,” the declaration states. “That denial was false.”

In addition, the document accuses Manafort of lying about a $125,000 payment made in June 2017 to an unspecified recipient, citing text messages, financial documents and testimony from his tax preparer.

Attached to the filing is a 157-page packet of evidence that supports the allegations, though that packet is just as heavily redacted as the main filing.

Having been convicted of eight counts of tax and bank fraud in Virginia in August, Manafort later pleaded guilty to separate charges in Washington, D.C. one month later. Tuesday’s submission is a step towards his sentencing on those charges.

Manafort’s attorneys filed their response to allegations that Manafort breached his plea agreement last week, though botched redactions in the filing revealed Mueller believes Manafort passed Trump campaign polling data to foreign contacts. 

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, declined to comment Tuesday.

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