Mueller Investigation: Court Filing Error Reveals Manafort Links to Russia

Mueller investigation

While the Robert Mueller investigation has been at a halt from quite some time, the latest update has nullified the break. In an accident, a court filing unsealed secret information of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort’s criminal case, which is definitely big.

Into the public sphere on Tuesday, the unsuccessful redactions in defense filing revealed that Manafort lied about two things to the prosecutors: First that he shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with a Russian business associate, and second that he met the Russian in Madrid at some point during the 2016 campaign.

In November, the Mueller investigation alleged that Manafort committed federal crimes by repeatedly lying to the FBI and the Special Counsel’s team, breaching the plea deal that he signed. The defense attorneys had filed a rebuttal against these accusations.

The court filing error on Tuesday came as a revelation to these allegations, giving extensive details on what Manafort allegedly lied about. 

The court filing leak

The error of defense attorneys, where the filing included portions that were supposed to be redacted and shielded, disclosed significant information from the Mueller investigation, which is striving to find links between the 2016 Republican campaign and WikiLeaks.

It revealed that Manafort had connections with a Russian-Ukrainian business associate, Konstantin V Kilimnik. The filing showed that Mueller alleged Manafort of discussing a “Ukraine peace plan” and meeting with him in Madrid in early 2017.

In the court filing, the defense attorneys acknowledged that the contacts occurred. They wrote that Manafort was unable to recall “specific details” about them, before having his “recollection refreshed” by Robert Mueller.

Mueller investigation

“The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” they wrote.

Kilimnik has been charged of witness tampering as part of the Mueller investigation. It is also believed that he has links to the Russian military intelligence unit, the GRU, which has been alleged of hacking emails of Democrats in 2016. However, the Russian national has denied those ties.

Interpretation on Mueller investigation

Paul Manafort was one of the first Americans charged in the Mueller investigation. He has also been accused of misstating about his contacts with the officials of Trump administration. However, the defense attorneys denied it too.

According to the filing, a text message exchange with Manafort, on May 26, 2018, involved an unidentified “third party”, who was seeking permission to mention Manafort on meeting Trump. Some have speculated that the “third party” in the filing is Konstantin V. Kilimnik.

The defense attorneys stated that Mueller’s team has indicated of not pursuing additional charges against Manafort. They also restrained having a separate hearing on the lying allegations. Instead, they will address them during the sentencing process.

While the court filing leak was an accident, it has drawn a substantial line in the Mueller investigation, which has accused Trump’s chief campaign aide of sharing election-related information with his Russian contacts for the first time.

While it is a major milestone in Robert Mueller’s probe, the filing does not specify if the polling data was public or how it was used. However, it is interpreted that Russia might have possibly used the information for interfering in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of President Trump.

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