In addition to charges of money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion, conspiracy against the United States, and other crimes, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is accused of asking witnesses to lie for him at his upcoming trial.
Federal prosecutors working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller are asking a judge to hold Manafort in jail until the July trial. Manafort is currently under house arrest with a $10 million unsecured bail.
Mueller’s team has alleged that Manafort lobbied for Ukrainian officials without the U.S. government’s knowledge and then laundered the money, amassing $30 million with a multi-year scheme that included bank fraud.
In documents filed Monday night, prosecutors allege that Manafort and an associate—identified in court documents as “Person A”—have been tampering with witnesses “in an effort to secure materially false testimony.”
“Basically P wants to give him a quick summary that he says to everybody (which is true) that our friends never lobbied in the US, and the purpose of the program was [European Union],” Person A said.
In previous filings, Person A has been used to designate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort associate who prosecutors believe has ties to Russian intelligence — something Kilimnik has denied.
Manafort also allegedly made calls on his own:
The motion says that after the indictment was made public, Manafort called Person D1 on a cell phone, but that the potential witness “sought to avoid Manafort” and “ended the call.”
The documents say Manafort then used a text-message encryption application to contact the witness, writing “This is Paul” and “We should talk.” The witnesses preserved the texts and turned them over to the government.
The Associated Press notes that this is not even the first time Manafort has defied court orders. Last year, while under gag order, he tried to “ghostwrite an opinion piece in Ukraine.”
As Jezebel reported on Friday, Manafort’s allies are now asking the public to donate money to pay for his mounting legal fees. Like everything else that Manafort touches, the fund is very suspicious.