Manafort Tried To Tamper With Witnesses After Indictment, May Have To Return To Jail

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, has been accused of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and lobbying case.

Court documents reveal that Manafort tried to contact several associates after his indictment last year via phone and encrypted messaging program to get their stories straight over lobbying practices, which prosecutors say violates the terms of his release.

They have asked a federal judge to "revoke or revise" the order governing the terms of his supervised release, which could send him to jail until his trial. Manafort is currently under 24-hour GPS monitored house arrest. 

FBI agent Brock W. Domin wrote in court documents that one witness reported Manafort's contact, and that he appeared to be trying to coach him on their story about where they lobbied. 

The order reads:

The day after the Superseding Indictment was made public, Manafort also sent Person D1 a text message on an encrypted application, stating “This is paul.” 

Two days later, on February 26, 2018, Manafort used the same encrypted application to send Person D1 a news article describing the Superseding Indictment’s allegations concerning the Hapsburg group, which included the statement that “two European politicians were secretly paid around €2 million  by Manafort in order to ‘take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States.’” 

One minute after sending the news article, Manafort wrote: “We should talk. I have made clear that they worked in Europe.” Toll records for one of Manafort’s  phones indicate that Manafort had a short call with Person D1 on February 24, 2018, and that Manafort attempted to call Person D1 again on February 25 and 27, 2018

As noted in Special Agent Domin’s declaration, 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.

Approximately five hours later, Person A switched to another encrypted application and sent a similar series of messages to Person D2, including a message relaying Manafort’s “summary” that the Hapsburg group never lobbied in the United States

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Person A's message is thus a "false story" conveyed "as if the story were true," and an attempt "to persuade a witness to give a false account that tracked the defendant's position." 

Read the entire filing below: