Paul Manafort Accidentally Leaked His Own Info About Talking To Russians

by Chelsea Stewart
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Remember when investigators said Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement for allegedly lying on a "variety of subjects"? Well, some of his transgressions were brought to light in a court filing on Jan. 8 — by his very own legal team. Paul Manafort's redacted court filing admitted he had discussions with an alleged Russian-intelligence-linked associate, which is really packing on the drama. Elite Daily reached out to representatives of Manafort for additional comment on the matter but did not immediately hear back. The special counsel's office declined to comment to Elite Daily on the matter.

According to CNN, Manafort accidentally blew up his own spot when his lawyers submitted a improperly redacted court filing, which revealed a whole lot about what investigators are looking into him for. Perhaps juiciest is that investigators, per the filing, believe that he gave confidential campaign information to and discussed Russian-Ukrainian policy with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate of the former campaign chairman who is believed to be a former Russian intelligence official. Kilimnik has denied being associated with Russian intelligence, per The Guardian. Prosecutors also believe Manafort and Kilimnik met in Madrid during the campaign to discuss a Ukrainian peace plan, per Business Insider. Per the redacted-but-readable parts of the filing, Manafort "conceded" that he had met with Kilimnik in Madrid, and had "discussed or may have discussed" the peace plan.

The outlet reports that the filing was meant to defend Manafort against the accusations that he'd lied to investigators about his interactions with Kilimnik, among other things, after agreeing to cooperate with them under his plea deal and was supposed to remain secret given the "sensitivities" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigations. Oops. Elite Daily reached out to representatives of Manafort for additional comment on the matter but did not immediately hear back. The special counsel's office declined to comment to Elite Daily on the matter.

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But his lawyers didn't say that Manafort lied, reports The New York Post, instead saying that he, essentially, forgot to tell investigators about the details. “[I]ssues 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," a redacted part of the document said. His team also said Manafort had been suffering from health issues, including gout, anxiety, and depression, which "weighed heavily" on him and may have hindered his ability to recall certain information.

As for the screw-up, Rolling Stone reported that Manafort's lawyers tried to redact the text, but failed, so the text was still readable under the redaction. Daily Mail editor David Martosko tweeted that, before the error was fixed, "you [could] copy the text right from underneath the black boxes." A copy of the document available via Business Insider still reveals the redacted text.

Previously, investigators accused Manafort of lying about five things in a sentencing memo filed on Dec. 7, 2018. Those alleged lies include his communications with Kilimnik and his interactions with the Trump administration in 2018. While Manafort's sentencing memo didn't specify what those conversations were, it details two alleged instances, one in February and the other in May:

In a text message from May 26, 2018, Manafort authorized a person to speak with an Administration official on Manafort's behalf. Separately, according to another Manafort colleague, Manafort said in February 2018 that Manafort had been in communication with a senior Administration official up through February 2018.

Elite Daily reached out to Manafort's trial lawyer for comment on the allegations that Manafort lied about Kilimnik and Trump administration contacts at the time, but did not hear back.

The Dec. 7 memo also claimed that Manafort lied in another unnamed DOJ investigation, as well as regarding $125,000 debt payment to an unnamed firm. Moreover, he was also accused of being "dishonest about some business affairs," all of which "were not instances of mere memory lapses," the document alleged. In the redacted filing from Jan. 8, Manafort's lawyers countered that the government had no evidence to support their claims that Manafort had lied about the payment, and said that he had corrected himself regarding his testimony in the unnamed investigation.

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It's unclear how much time Manafort might be facing for his alleged lies, but he's already looking at some serious time behind bars for other crimes. In August 2018, he was he was convicted of eight charges of financial, bank, and tax fraud. With those counts and two others he was charged with in September, he was potentially facing life in prison. He pleaded guilty in September 2018 and agreed to cooperate with investigators as a part of his plea deal, but it fell through in November. He'll be sentenced for his crimes on March 5, 2019, per CNBC.

We'll see how this drama ends then, but you might want to prepare yourself for some wild turns in the meantime.