Manafort accused of sharing Trump polling data with Russian operative
Paul Manafort’s lawyers did a shoddy job redacting a new court filing — inadvertently revealing that he’s accused of sharing polling data from the 2016 presidential election with an alleged Russian spy.
Attorneys for President Trump’s former campaign chairman tried to obscure this and other revelations in a document made public Tuesday, but the text beneath the black bars could still be copied and pasted into a new document.
According to the filing, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team believes Manafort lied to prosecutors about “sharing polling data” that was “related to the 2016 presidential campaign” with his longtime aide Konstantin Kilimnik, who American officials believe has ties to Russian intelligence.
The poorly redacted court papers also revealed a meeting between Manafort and Kilimnik in Madrid, although no date was provided — and that the two discussed a Ukraine peace plan on more than one occasion.
In both cases, Manafort copped to the “additional meetings or communications” he hadn’t initially disclosed after the special counsel “shared evidence” with him, according to the documents.
Manafort pleaded guilty in September 2018 to conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s office in its probe of Russian interference in the election — but prosecutors say he broke that agreement by telling “multiple discernible lies.”
In the new filing, Manafort’s lawyers argue that he didn’t lie so much as forget.
“Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort’s mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed,” they write.
“The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign.”
Prosecutors have repeatedly referred to Kilimnik, who has denied any ties to the Kremlin, as “Person A” in a series of other filings made as part of their case against Manafort, including as a co-conspirator when accusing the one-time Washington mega-lobbyist of witness tampering in June.