US Special Attorney Robert Müller, who heads an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign, brought new charges against Paul Manafort, former campaign manager of Donald Trump.
According to Mueller, Manafort, who awaits trial on conspiracy and money laundering charges, attempted to tamper the witnesses.
Muller said in a motion to the court that Paul Manafort, while on bail pending trial, repeatedly tried to contact two people from the Habsburg Group, a firm with whom he worked until 2014 and promoted the interests of the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
The motion says that the FBI has documents, applications and telephone records indicating that Manafort “repeatedly” tried to contact and tamper with potential witnesses in February in violation of the conditions for his pretrial release.
In his appeal to the District Court of Columbia, Muller asked to withdraw or revise the procedure for the release of Manafort before the trial. Manafort was placed under house arrest after he was charged in October. He is accused of money laundering and non-registration as a foreign agent, as well as banking and tax fraud. He did not plead guilty.
Manafort is the most senior member of the Trump campaign, who can be charged. However, none of the charges brought against him is due to his activities during his brief tenure as chairman of the Trump campaign in mid-2016. A number of charges relate to his work on behalf of Yanukovych, who was ousted from power as a result of street protests in 2014 and now lives in exile in Russia.
In the indictment made earlier this year, Mueller accused Manafort of secretly lobbying in Washington and Europe the interests of “former high-ranking European politicians” in 2012 and 2013 on behalf of the Yanukovych government. Former politicians who received more than 2 million euros for their work did not disclose that they are paid for lobbying, as required by the US law.
“The plan was that former politicians, unofficially called the Habsburg Group, apparently provided their independent assessments of the actions of the government of Ukraine when in fact they were paid lobbyists representing the interests of Ukraine,” the indictment says.
The Manafort case should be held on September 17 in Washington, DC.