UPDATE — 6/15, 11:54 a.m. EDT: A federal judge in Washington, D.C., revoked Paul Manafort’s bail terms in a ruling Friday after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office charged Trump’s former campaign manager with witness tampering.
As a result, Manafort will await trial on bank fraud and money laundering charges from a jail cell instead of from his suburban Virginia residence under house arrest.
A federal grand jury indicted Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort with new charges on Friday not related to Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged intrigue between the GOP’s 2016 presidential campaign and Kremlin entities.
Accused along with Manafort is Konstantin Kilimnik, a 48-year-old Russian associate of Manafort who was employed at the Ukraine office of the former’s lobbying firm. Kilimnik is believed to be tied to Kremlin intelligence.
Under the new indictment, both Manafort and Kilimnik are cited with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice for allegedly “knowingly and intentionally” seeking to influence the testimony of two potential witnesses at Manafort’s trial scheduled to begin in September.
Friday’s indictment follows a motion filed by Mueller’s office Monday to revoke Manafort’s temporary release from custody as he awaits trial on a raft of charges, including money-laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and both bank and tax fraud.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
According to the filings, Mueller’s office believes Manafort contacted associates with The Hapsburg Group by phone or electronic means in the attempt to conceal evidence in his case.
The Hapsburg Group is a consortium of former European leaders who maintain Manafort’s lobbying firm to advocate on behalf of Ukraine in Europe and the U.S.
Mueller’s office alleges Manafort’s attempts to contact colleagues followed associate Rick Gates reaching an agreement with federal prosecutors in February.
Responding in court to the new charges, attorneys for Manafort claimed Mueller’s office had not established witness tampering and accused Mueller of “heavy-handed gamesmanship.”
A motion by Manafort attorneys contesting the charges refers to the indictments of witness tampering by Manafort as “irrelevant, innocuous and unsupportive of the conjured witness tampering claim.”
A hearing has been set for June 15 on the matter.
[Business Insider] [NBC News] [BBC] [Fox News] [Bloomberg] [Photo courtesy AP via Washington Times]