Failed redaction reveals Paul Manafort's 'lies to FBI'

Donald Trump is seen with Paul Manafort during the Republican National Convention in July 2016

Donald Trump is seen with Paul Manafort during the Republican National Convention in July 2016

Moments ago, a court filing was unsealed in the case alleging that Paul Manafort had violated his plea agreement by lying to federal agents. Journalists quickly discovered that the redacted portions of the court documents could be read by simply copying the redacted text and pasting it elsewhere.

Defense counsel for Manafort claim their client "did not recall having a conversation" with two Trump administration officials and that his recollection about contacts with Kilimnik is "unsurprising", because "these occurrences happened during a period when Mr. Manafort was managing a USA presidential campaign and had countless meetings, email communications, and other interactions with many different individuals, and traveled frequently".

The disclosure emerged in a legal brief filed by Manafort's defense lawyers, who are resisting the idea he intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, lies that the investigators said should torpedo his plea deal. (See Doc. 460 at 6).

One passage that was meant to be redacted reveals that Mueller's prosecutors, tasked with probing Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, have accused Manafort of sharing 2016 campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate whom the special counsel has identified as a former Russian intelligence officer.

It showed that Mueller had questioned Manafort on his discussions with Kilimnik in 2016 on a possible peace plan for Ukraine - where the two had worked together several years earlier for a pro-Russia political party.

They say the same about his recollection of sharing polling data with Kilimnik related to the 2016 campaign. And in a third redaction apparently gone wrong, defense lawyers revealed that Manafort may have greenlighted an unnamed third party to drop his name if that person secured a meeting with President Trump.

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They also said Manafort was awakened before dawn on the days he was interviewed and normally spent the entire day talking with investigators.

Although Manafort's attorneys could request an evidentiary hearing on the claim he lied to Mr. Mueller's team, they suggested the matter be addressed in a pre-sentencing report compiled by the probation office.

Through his spokesman, Manafort has acknowledged discussing the briefings but said they never occurred.

Mr Kilimnik was considered Manafort's right-hand man in Ukraine and has been accused by the special counsel of conspiring to obstruct justice.

Kilimnik has denied ties to Russian intelligence and is not in USA custody.

Manafort told a colleague in February - four months after he was indicted - that he was in contact with a senior administration official through that time, prosecutors said in accusing him of lying.

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