The office of special counsel Robert Mueller has said in a new filing that there’s “probable cause” to believe former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses.
“The evidence set forth below and in the attached declaration of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Brock W. Domin establishes probable cause to believe that Manafort has violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1) by attempting to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release and, accordingly, has violated the conditions of his release,” according to the document.
Manafort, who is currently confined to his home, has not been charged with witness tampering.
Manafort faces federal criminal charges, including bank and tax fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent, in federal courts in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia.
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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia on Tuesday set a June 15 hearing on Mueller’s effort to reconsider Manafort’s bail. She also ordered Manafort’s lawyers to respond in writing by June 8.
“Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense,” said Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, in a statement. “We will do our talking in court.”
The new filing describes developments that occurred after a February superseding indictment against Manafort that included new allegations related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Those allegations had to do with his lobbying work in connection to a group of former European officials known as the Hapsburg Group.
Mueller’s office alleges that Manafort sought to contact two individuals “who were principals of a public relations company” and acted “as intermediaries between Manafort, Person A, co-defendant Richard Gates, and the Hapsburg Group,” after the superseding indictment was filed.
Manafort contacted those two principals, identified as Persons D1 and D2, by calling Person D1’s cellphone and using an encrypted application to send messages, according to the motion.
“Person D1 has told the government that he understood Manafort’s outreach to be an effort to ‘suborn perjury,’ because Person D1 knew that the Hapsburg group worked in the United States—not just Europe,” the filing noted.
It also described efforts by a still-unknown Person A to get in contact with Persons D1 and D2.
Read the document below: