- US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has scheduled a hearing for June 15 to decide whether to revoke bail for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
- Manafort has been on supervised release since he was first indicted by the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office last year.
- But the FBI on Monday accused Manafort of attempting to tamper with witness testimony and subsequently asked the court to revoke or restrict the terms of Manafort’s release.
- “Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense,” Manafort’s spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.
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On Tuesday, a federal judge scheduled a hearing for June 15 about whether to revoke or revise bail for Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s decision came after the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office asked the court to restrict the conditions of Manafort’s release in a bombshell motion filed Monday. The reason, the FBI said, was that Manafort had attempted to influence witness testimony in the Russia probe.
FBI special agent Brock Domin said Manafort attempted to communicate via phone and encrypted messaging with two people associated with the Hapsburg Group — a group of former senior European politicians who work to advance Ukraine’s interests. They were named in the court filing as Person D1 and Person D2.
Jackson has asked Manafort’s lawyers to respond to Mueller’s filing by June 8.
“Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense,” Manafort’s spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider on Tuesday. “We will do our talking in court.”
In February, the FBI accused Manafort of secretly paying the Hapsburg Group more than 2 million euros, through four different offshore accounts, to lobby on behalf of the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013, when it was controlled by the pro-Russian strongman Viktor Yanukovych.
In addition to Manafort, Mueller’s office also said another person, denoted in Monday’s court filing as “Person A,” reached out to witnesses associated with the Hapsburg Group.
While Person A’s identity is also not clear, other details provided by the FBI in previous court filings indicate the individual is an associate of Manafort’s, and the description bears similarities to that of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian operative who has long been suspected to have ties to Russian intelligence
Persons D1 and D2 told the FBI that they believed Manafort and Person A reached out to them in an effort to coax them to alter their testimony to line up with Manafort’s version of events.
The identities of Person D1 and Person D2 are not clear. But media reports suggest the witnesses could be Romano Prodi, the former prime minister of Italy, and Alfred Gusenbauer, the former chancellor of Austria.
Prodi told The New York Times in February that he was not aware that the funds Gusenbauer had paid him had come from Manafort, and were part of “normal private relations I had with him,” and was “not any money from external sources.”
“I tell you I have never been paid from any lobby group in America,” Prodi added.
“I always had the point of view that it was important to move Ukraine closer to Europe,” Gusenbauer told the BBC in a separate statement. “It would have been extremely positive if Ukraine could have agreed” to closer ties, he said. “I was talking to EU and US politicians to make that point clear … I stopped this activity when I had the impression that Ukraine was moving in the wrong direction.”