New indictment filed against Paul Manafort

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in Washington

The latest obstruction charges bolster Mueller's case by laying out the argument that Manafort had corrupt intent to hide his activities, according to former prosecutors. They said nothing governing the terms of their client's pretrial release prevents him from having contact with anyone, that the apps, which encrypt messages, that Manafort used are commonplace and that he'd asked no one to produce a false affidavit or false testimony at trial.

They also say the allegations that he and an associate tampered with witnesses involved in his criminal case are based on "scant" evidence.

Ellis demanded to view a classified "scope memo" sent to Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which outlines what the special counsel is authorized to probe.

It also adds a charge for conspiracy to obstruct justice, meaning Manafort and Kilimnik allegedly did it together.

The alleged coverup stems from work Manafort, Kilimnik and others did with former European politicians, referred to informally as the "Hapsburg group", to advocate on Ukraine's behalf to USA and European officials.

The new charges were unsealed Friday against Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik.

They could also be an effort by Mueller to induce a guilty plea and secure the testimony of a critical campaign adviser to Trump. The spokesman, Jason Maloni, said Friday that Manafort and his lawyers were reviewing the new charges.

According to Ukrainian journalists, kilimnik was in charge of the office of Manafort in Kiev since 2005 and 2015, is a citizen of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and in the past was a military translator. The group's lobbying work included advocacy on behalf of Yanukovych in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress and officials in the executive branch.

The government has not charged Manafort with the crime of witness-tampering or obstruction of justice.

Kilimnik, who isn't in the USA and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, has denied any links to Russian intelligence.

Manafort is now on bail and awaiting trial.

Through a spokesman, Manafort has maintained his innocence. The individuals shared communications with prosecutors, the government said.

Mueller has accused Manafort of attempting to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from "The Hapsburg Group", a political discussion group he allegedly worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine, in an effort to influence their testimony or hide evidence in the case.

Manafort has been the subject of a long-running investigation over his dealings in Ukraine several years ago - for which he didn't file as a foreign agent until June 2017.

In addition, the formal obstruction of justice charges bolster Mueller's overall case against Manafort.

Yet Manafort and the public relations people had brought the Hapsburg group to the United States to speak with members of Congress about the interests of Viktor Yanukovych, a former Ukrainian president who had jailed a political rival, while posing as independent voices, prosecutors said earlier this week. His co-defendant, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

In Friday's indictment, Mueller accused Kilimnik of taking part in the covert lobbying scheme and of trying to influence potential witnesses.

Manafort has acknowledged staying in frequent contact with Kilimnik during the time he worked for Trump's campaign.

Emails show that during the middle of the campaign, Manafort told Kilimnik he was willing to provide "private briefings" about Trump's presidential run to a billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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