Mueller Accuses Manafort Of Witness Tampering And Seeks Jail

440px-Director_Robert_S._Mueller-_IIIPrisonCellJust days after President Donald Trump was seen as sending a message to Mueller targets that he could still help them with pardons, Special Counsel Bob Mueller could be sending a message of his own: your future may belong to the President but your present belongs to me.  In a major move, Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering and is seeking his possible jailing in an adjustment of his pre-trial status. For someone like Manafort, jail can be a panic-inducing element in an already nightmarish case.  The motion seeks to “revoke or revise” his current status of home confinement before trial.

 

Manafort is facing two trials in two different jurisdictions in Washington and Virginia.  The Virginia case focuses on bank fraud and tax evasion charges in Virginia. The allegations are more relevant to the Washington proceedings but both judges were informed of the allegations against him.  He is accused of violating 18 USC 1512 by attempting to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release.  Here is the relevant section:

(b)Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to—

(1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;

2) cause or induce any person to—(A) withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding; (B) alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; (C) evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding; or (D) be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been summoned by legal process . . .

Beyond denying the truth of an allegation, a defendant does have a statutory defense:

(e) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, it is an affirmative defense, as to which the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conduct consisted solely of lawful conduct and that the defendant’s sole intention was to encourage, induce, or cause the other person to testify truthfully.
The move is certainly consistent with some of Mueller’s top aides who have a reputation for coercing potential witnesses and burying those who do not cooperate.  The filing in federal district court could land Manafort in jail if the evidence is sufficiently strong.

The document say that Manafort tried to contact witnesses by various means, including an intermediary and through an encrypted messaging program. The messages allegedly sought to influence their accounts — an act that could easily consistent subornation.

FBI Special Agent Brock Domin declared in his statement that Manafort communicated with two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” a firm working for Ukrainian interests.

The allegations include contacts with members of a public relations firm to help coordinate accounts.  This statement from a witness stood out: “They should say their lobbying and public relations work was exclusively in Europe.” If true, that type of steering would be a very serious matter for a defendant allowed to remain under house arrest.

It would be a moronic act of galactic proportions. However, Manafort has long had a reputation for incautious and questionable tactics.  Indeed, the indictment documents his array of questionable clients and activities.

The biggest danger for the Trump team would be the jailing of Manafort, who is already under considerable pressure to cooperate.  From the unnecessary no-knock raid on his home to this filing, they are continuing to squeeze Manafort.  The timing is notable.  While the Trump is offering the prospect of a pardon, Mueller could be offering the certainty of jail.

Here is the filing in the federal court in Washington, D.C.

170 thoughts on “Mueller Accuses Manafort Of Witness Tampering And Seeks Jail”

  1. Regarding the line:

    This statement from a witness stood out: “They should say their lobbying and public relations work was exclusively in Europe.”

    This is not what Manafort actually said, but Person D2’s interpretation. It’s worth being precise.

    When you look at what Manafort actually said, there’s a big question about whether D2 is making a reasonable interpretation.

    Overall, there isn’t any actual evidence of Manafort corruptly influencing witness testimony. Mueller better bring some to court.

      1. PH – HA may be “common” – although compared to say, Styxx he’s downright debonair – I listen to all kinds of people if they have good CONTENT

  2. I get all that.

    Manafort’s a bad actor.

    And thanks.

    But was Rosenstein’s illegal and unconstitutional appointment of a special counsel for “Russian

    Collusion” or Manafort?

    And what’s so special about a cheap crook, Manafort anyway?

    Please, where the —- is the “Russian collusion” that President Trump was accused of?

    It first morphed into “meddling,” and now it’s the Manafort Opprobrium.

    Where is the —-ing “collusion?”

  3. After the evidence of Manafort’s criminality piling up like snow in winter, it is utterly hilarious for Mr Turley to cling to the notion that the ” no knock raid” was unnecessary. Unless he knows something that we don’t, it is a far more likely proposition that the raid was justified. This kind of extreme libertarianism always seems to land people on the wrong side of rational judgement. Either that, or utterly absurd right wing partisanship. Absurd because the litany of Manafort’s actions to conspire against the interests of the American people and polity in favour of foreign interests is vast.

    1. After the evidence of Manafort’s criminality piling up like snow in winter,

      12 year old tax charges.

      1. …acting as an unregistered foreign agent; running interference for Russia in European elections and on and on. Just wait. Following the money trail will reveal all in short order. Same goes for Trumpovich.

        1. Acting as an unregistered foreign agent is seldom if ever prosecuted as a crime. John Podesta simply received letters from the Justice Department telling him to register. Other allegations included a contention that he hadn’t filled out the paperwork for a foreign bank account. See Andrew McCarthy on the money laundering charge: it’s bogus unless Mueller can prove that the money Gates and Manafort moded around was derived from criminal activity.

    2. They can do a raid without doing a “no knock” nighttime raid. I haven’t seen a good explanation as to why it had to be during the night, or why they really couldn’t allow the occupants an extra 15-30 seconds. They should have had to provide substantial evidence as to why each aspect (night-time and no-knock) is justified.

  4. As all this Russia Russia Russia bs drags on it’s increasingly apparent that it’s designed to draw attention away from HRC’s / Weiner’s emails, the Awan bros cyberspying game in the House and to keep the fires burning for the increasingly deluded Resistance cult, etc. etc.

    1. Autumn: no, honey. There’s no HRC/Weiner scandal/crime or anything else. These people are old news, and nothing they did excuses Trump. For the sake of your mental health, stop watching Fox News.

      Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager is dirty, and now, it appears, stupid as well. He’s going to prison, and will cut a deal to shave off prison time by telling the truth about Trump. That’s the current story.

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