Manafort Shared Trump Campaign Data With Russian Associate, Prosecutors Say – The New York Times
Investigators have been questioning witnesses about whether Russia tried to influence the Trump administration to broker a resolution to hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. Various “peace plans” were proposed, including at least one that called for the lifting of American sanctions against Russia. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kilimnik had worked closely together for years on behalf of Russia-aligned Ukrainian interests.
Prosecutors have also accused Mr. Manafort of misleading them about his contacts with senior administration officials, about a payment from a pro-Trump political action committee made to cover his legal expenses, and about how he and Mr. Kilimnik tried to influence the testimony of witnesses to ward off criminal charges.
In their filing, Mr. Manafort’s defense lawyers said that Mr. Manafort never intentionally misled federal authorities. Instead, they blamed a faulty memory, lack of access to his own records and illness for his mistakes, saying their client has gout, depression and anxiety.
But they said that they would not seek a hearing to challenge the prosecutors’ assertions Mr. Manafort lied, a decision that brings Mr. Manafort one step closer to being sentenced for his crimes. He was convicted last year of 10 felonies including conspiracy to obstruct justice and failure to disclose years of lobbying work for pro-Russia oligarchs in Ukraine.
The decision not to seek a hearing reflected the dearth of legal choices for Mr. Manafort, 69, who led Mr. Trump’s campaign during a crucial period in mid-2016, then became a prime target of Mr. Mueller’s team. One prosecution in Northern Virginia resulted in his jury conviction in August for bank fraud, tax fraud and other financial crimes. A second led to his guilty plea in September on two conspiracy charges.
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