Prosecutors expand Manafort charges, add new Russian defendant in his case

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, is facing more federal criminal charges along with a new Russian co-defendant. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, is facing more federal criminal charges along with a new Russian co-defendant. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET

Prosecutors unsealed more 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 brought against Manafort, 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 allegations

Manafort 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 spontaneously or own their own.

In reality, according to court documents, the group was working 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.

One of the charges Manafort is facing is failing to properly register as an agent of a foreign power.

The supplemental indictment revealed on Friday makes clear that the Justice Department considered the alleged tampering serious enough to file formal charges, and add a new defendant.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson has 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.

Manafort Kilimnik Superseding Indictment 060818 (Text)

Alleged co-conspirator

Kilimnik has been on the periphery of the Russia investigation for months; he has been linked with a newspaper column that Manafort drafted making a case for himself in Ukraine. He is described in a new profile in The Atlantic as “Manafort’s Manafort,” a right-hand man whose Russian origins and language skills were invaluable to Manafort in expanding his influence business in Eastern Europe.

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