Robert Mueller's Office Says Paul Manafort Tried to Tamper With Potential Witnesses, Which Seems Illegal

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The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is asking a federal court to revise the terms of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s bail, or revoke it entirely, after Manafort tampered with potential witnesses, according to court documents filed Monday.

Reuters reports:

Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, asked the judge overseeing the case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial.


Mueller urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson to “promptly” schedule a hearing on the whether to change Manafort’s conditions of release, which could result in Manafort going to jail.

The Washington trial is set to start on Sept. 17.

Manafort was hit with a 12-count indictment in October, including “conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.” Manafort posted a $10 million bond in December and was released from house arrest.


As CNN helpfully points out:

One of the terms of Manafort’s bail and supervised released was that he not commit any crimes.


FBI Special Agent Brock Domin said in an affadavit filed along with the motion that Manafort “attempted to call, text and send encrypted messages in February” to two former associates from a public relations company (referred to in the filings as Persons D1 and D2) who served as intermediaries between Manafort, former Trump campaign aide and Manafort associate Rick Gates, and “The Hapsburg Group” (of course that’s the name), a group Manafort worked with to promote Ukrainian interests.

“Documents produced by Persons D1 and D2, statements made by Persons D1 and D2 to the government, telephone records obtained by the government, and documents recovered pursuant to a court-authorized search of Manafort’s iCloud account evidence that Manafort, while on bail from this Court, and with the assistance of Person A, contacted and attempted to contact Persons D1 and D2 in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence,” Mueller’s office wrote in the filing.

This is pretty bad timing for Manafort: BuzzFeed reported that last week, Manafort “appeared to be on the verge of reaching a deal with Mueller’s office about which properties he could pledge in exchange for getting them to agree with new release conditions.”

You can read the whole filing, which was first posted by BuzzFeed, below.