Prosecutors Expand Manafort Charges, Add New Russian Defendant In His Case
Updated at 2:34 p.m. ETProsecutors unsealed new charges on Friday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and also accused a new defendant in the case of conspiring with Manafort to obstruct justice.Prosecutors allege that a Russian partner of Manafort's, Konstantin Kilimnik, tried to persuade witnesses to lie to the jury when Manafort's case comes to trial in Washington, D.C. this autumn. So in addition to the alleged conspiracy, money laundering, finance and other charges that Manafort faces, he now faces charges that he allegedly obstructed justice and conspired to obstruct justice. Kilimnik also faces those charges of obstruction and conspiracy to obstruct. New allegationsManafort and Kilimnik worked together on behalf of the former government of Ukraine, prosecutors say. One project was to assemble a team of European political leaders who could advocate for Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych, apparently doing doing so on their own. In reality, according to court documents, the group was doing so at Manafort's direction and in the pay of the Ukrainian government. The group's lobbying work included advocacy on behalf of Yanukovych in Washington D.C. with members of Congress and officials in the executive branch. Prosecutors complained to a federal judge earlier this week that Manafort — and, apparently, Kilimnik — had been contacting people who knew about that work to ask them to tell jurors that the Ukraine lobbying work had only taken place inside Europe. The supplemental indictment revealed on Friday makes clear that the Justice Department considered the matter serious enough to file formal charges, and add a new defendant.Judge Amy Berman Jackson had scheduled a hearing for June 15 at which she ordered Manafort, prosecutors and witnesses to appear to deal with the alleged witness-tampering. The government wants Berman Jackson to rescind Manafort's bail and put him in jail ahead of his trial. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org/.