Robert Mueller's Top Prosecutor: Paul Manafort is Tampering with Witnesses


U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Monday accused Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager, of witness tampering.

A team of prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller allege in court papers that Manafort and one of his associates "repeatedly" contacted two witnesses in an effort to influence their testimony.

In the latest filing, Mueller's team says Manafort obstructed justice and attempted to "suborn perjury" by contacting the witnesses.

If only there had been same way for the Trump campaign to know that Manafort, a resident of Trump Tower-who'd made his fortune as a political consultant to dictators and had largely been absent from Republican politics for two decades-was involved in some shady business.

Mueller is now asking a judge to revoke bail and put Manafort in jail.

Manafort faces several felony charges in two federal cases.

Manafort previously denied all charges. He was indicted in Virginia on tax and bank fraud charges dating back to 2005 and 2007 and, in Washington, DC, on charges of failing to formally declare his lobbying efforts for the Ukrainian government between 2006 and 2015.

Accuser: Harvey Weinstein raped me, his lawyer tricked me
He promised to make a deal that afternoon if she would meet him for a drink at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, the suit alleges. Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was indicted by a grand jury in ny on charges of rape and a criminal sexual act.

Manafort continued to try to contact him with an encrypted messaging application.

Because witness tampering is a crime, and Manafort's bail provisions warn that he shouldn't break the law while awaiting trial, the prosecutors argue they have "little confidence that restrictions short of detention will assure Manafort's compliance", the filing said.

The day after Gates' plea, Manafort messaged and called one of the witnesses and continued reaching out over the next several days, according to a sworn affidavit filed by an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in the case. One of the messages was a link to a newspaper article, while the other was an invitation to talk and a warning that he "made clear" to the investigators that the activities of the group were limited to Europe. "I immediately get arrested, detained, and I place a phone call to you, and I say, 'Stephanie, remember yesterday when we didn't rob a 7-Eleven, which is true".

In one call, the agent wrote, Manafort said he wanted to give the person a "heads-up about Hapsburg". The person believed from his experience that the Hapsburg group lobbied in the United States and knew that Manafort knew that as well, the agent wrote.

"I've seen this kind of witness tampering hundreds of times", the veteran former prosecutor said.

Mueller says the individuals Manafort tried to contact - referred to only as "D1" and "D2" - were "principals of a public-relations company [who] acted as intermediaries between Richard Gates, and the Hapsburg group".