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Mueller and His Team Accuse Manafort of Witness Tampering

Mueller and His Team Accuse Manafort of Witness Tampering

Request revocation or revision of Manafort’s pretrial release

In a court filing Monday, U.S. Special Counselor accused former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort of tampering with potential witnesses.

From Reuters:

FBI Special Agent Brock Domin, in a declaration filed with Mueller’s motion, said Manafort had attempted to call, text and send encrypted messages in February to two people from “The Hapsburg Group,” a firm he worked with to promote the interests of Ukraine.

The FBI has documents and statements from the two people, as well as telephone records and documents recovered through a search of Manafort’s iCloud account showing that Trump’s former campaign manager attempted communication while he was out on bail, according to Domin.

The communications were “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence,” Domin wrote. “The investigation into this matter is ongoing.”

“In one call, the agent wrote, Manafort said he wanted to give the person a “heads-up about Hapsburg.” The individual then hung up “because he was concerned about the outreach,” according to the affidavit,” reports Yahoo.

On Feb. 26, Manafort sent the person a series of messages through an encrypted application, including a link to a Business Insider story with the headline: “Former European leaders struggle to explain themselves after Mueller claims Paul Manafort paid them to lobby for Ukraine.” Another message said, “We should talk. I have made clear that they worked in Europe.”

The person told investigators that he interpreted Manafort’s efforts to reach him as a way to influence his potential statements. The person believed from his experience that the Hapsburg Group lobbied in the United States and knew that Manafort knew that as well, the agent wrote.

Manafort is currently under house arrest. Mueller and his team have asked the U.S. District Court in D.C. to revoke or revise Manafort’s pretrial release. Manafort pled not guilty to an “array of allegations from money-laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent, to bank and tax fraud.”

This is the latest accusation by Mueller’s team that hasn’t a thing to do with their charge of investigating alleged Trump/Russia collusion.

Back in February, Professor Jacobson blogged:

Because Manafort was associated with the Trump campaign, he has come under the watch of Robert Mueller.

If that had not happened, Manafort likely would have lived his life as an ordinary civilian. Instead, Manafort’s life has come under intense prosecutorial scrutiny.

There allegedly was a dirty underside to Manafort’s business practices having nothing to do with Mueller’s charge to investigate Russian meddling in the election and alleged Trump campaign collusion.

…If Manafort doesn’t have any incriminating information about Trump, he’s in the worst of all positions. He can’t cut a deal to give up something he doesn’t have, and he’s being targeted by a huge and aggressive Mueller team because he was in the wrong place (the Trump campaign) at the wrong time (during part of the 2016 election cycle).

None of this should be within Mueller’s purview because none of it has anything to do with Russian meddling or alleged collusion. I made this point in an earlier post with regard to the guilty plea of Michael Flynn for lying with regard to post-election transition matters, Why is Robert Mueller even investigating the presidential transition?

That’s why Manafort has sued in an attempt to reign in Mueller.

For our previous coverage on Manafort’s legal woes, see here.

Government’s Motion to revise pre-trial release here:

Us vs Paul Manafort Pretrial Release by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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I cannot judge the merits of the allegations. However, if these allegations are not true, we are faced with a prosecutor who is completely out of control.

The government claims that Manafort suborned perjury by stating to this unidentified person that his firm lobbied in Europe, not the US. Since this in an element of the crime with which he is charged, he in effect stated his innocence. So, the government’s claim that Manafort suborned perjury presumes his guilt. Once you are charged, we can’t have people proclaiming that they are innocent, can we?

Manafort is not alleged to have explicitly asked the unidentified person to lie, alter his testimony, hide or destroy evidence, or the like.

There is no explanation for why the government waited from late February until now, in June, to raise this allegation.

It all seems to be very weak sauce to me.

    SDN in reply to Wisewerds. | June 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

    The only perjury being suborned is on the part of Mueller. “Testify the way I want or go to prison” is the proposal.

    Manafort ought to file countercharges on exactly that basis.

    Let me take a shot at this (although I’m not a lawyer)

    PM: Hey Fred, I testified that our firm only lobbied in Europe.
    Mueller: Ah, HA! We know through ultra-secret means that your firm *really* lobbied in the US.
    Fred: So if I testify that our firm only lobbied in Europe…?
    Mueller: I’ll charge you with perjury and PM with suborning perjury, which of course means I’ll have to nail you *hard* for perjury in order to get it to stick on him.
    Fred: But our firm *did* only lobby in Europe.
    Mueller: Testify that way and I’ll make your life a living hell, and bankrupt your great-grandchildren.
    Fred: And if I lie and say we did lobbying in the US?
    Mueller: You’re home free.
    Fred: Oh. So that’s how it works.

If you let the special prosecutor go on forever, he will continue to look for (entrap or cause) people to commit “crimes” to justify keeping him going forevermore.

Connivin Caniff | June 5, 2018 at 8:04 am

The defendant can’t talk to the witness, but the prosecutor can threaten him with overstated indictments, long jail time and bankruptcy if the prosecutor doesn’t get what the prosecutor wants.

Mueller is as corrupt and criminal as Comey, which is as corrupt as one can get.

Just wants him in jail. Apply pressure see what blows.

Since the charges have nothing to do with Russian Collusion President Trump should just pardon him

The longer Mueller runs this sham, the longer Mueller stays out of jail. What, you think the former FBI Director had no idea the FBI was spying on the President and trying to set him up? He was just playing golf in the he has interim? No one consulted with him or asked him to network on their behalf? I’ll bet he”s up to his neck in this.

Harvey Silverglate’s book, “Three Felonies a Day,” and Catherine Englebrecht’s experiences were precursors to what’s going on now.

This is really beginning to look like all of mueller’s “persecutions” …. use the force of the unlimited government funding to destroy someone – Flynn, Caputo and the seemingly fake indictments against the Russian companies.

Herr Mueller, he’s at it again. I swear the left and the tools being used, like Mueller, are pushing for a civil war.

Mueller got his start as a prosecutor dealing with organized crime. He seems to be approaching this as if it were such a project. The problem with that is that when dealing with organized crime, you know with certainty that the target has committed many crimes. Your job is to find a way to prosecute him for one of those. The tools that a prosecutor uses for that are exactly the tool the Mueller is using now: find lower levels that you can flip. That explains a deep concern about witness tampering: in an organized crime situation witness tampering involves physical violence.

But Mueller has no right to assume a crime has been committed by the target. That leads down dangerous paths when the target is innocent.

E.W. “Bill” Priestap is the head of the FBI Counterintelligence operation. There is a theory that he was tagged by Comey to be the “fall guy”, so turned. He is testifying before lawmakers in a closed-door session today….and this may be a move to distract from the testimony.

    E.W. “Bill” Priestap…“fall guy”, so turned…

    Priestap is the only one of that group that has kept his position and responsibilities. I’m not sure that ‘turned’ is the right word to use.

      Fen in reply to MSO. | June 5, 2018 at 10:06 am

      Comey used him as a scapegoat, said he ordered him to mislead Congress, Priestap did not go to the media to defend himself in the court of public opinion. Perhaps because he is already talking to a higher court.

      Watch the linked video, the Congressman(R) does a wink nod routine indicating as much as possible without actually saying Priestap is going out Comey et al.

        Fen in reply to Fen. | June 5, 2018 at 10:13 am

        Advised him, not ordered

        MSO in reply to Fen. | June 5, 2018 at 10:17 am

        Saying that a witness ‘turned’ implies that the witness had ‘gone wrong’ and then ‘turned’ back. If Priestap had ‘gone wrong’ he would have faced the same reassignment as Strzok.

        But yes, I imagine that he is going to testify against Strzok and possibly Comey.

          Fen in reply to MSO. | June 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

          Good clarification. And yah, fingers crossed but not pinning my hopes on it. I chased that rabbit down dozens of holes during the Clinton Impeachement: “Mr X will reveal X on X date and Clinton will be frog-marched in cuffs / forced to resign / removed from office. Not doing that rollercoaster of hope and disappointment again.

Once again, our legal system demonstrates how the use of prosecutorial extortion is encouraged through plea bargaining.

Extortion is a crime, period. All charges brought by all prosecutors must be resolved by a trial jury without exception. This is the only way to prevent prosecutors and law makers from running amuck.

One last thought, I’m beginning to favor a legal system that punishes witnesses that do not lie to federal agencies. If we cannot out-and-out eliminate those agencies, at least we could render them worthless.

Mueller is thrashing about like a dying scorpion, stinging himself to death. It can’t come soon enough.

sure would like to know who downthumbed every comment but two……

Me too.
This has become a regular happening.
Childish, rude, has to be a lefty / prog – hates everything

I’m confused about laws on witness tampering.

Is it based on the prosecution’s judgement or the perp?

If I have an expectation that Bob my getaway driver will be forced to testify and I msg him info about the case AND the prosecution still thinks it was a solo heist (ie they don’t know he exists) … is it witness tampering? Even if I have an expectation that prosecution will discover his existence later and want to use his testimony?

What about the reverse. I call up my bartender and chat about my “predicament” completely unaware that the prosecution thinks his testimony wull help their case (“Fen is ambidextrous”).

This is June. Manafort did not know who were designated witnesses yet. Therefore he is free to talk to whom he wishes. This looks like Mueller is playing on empty. He has no case on Manfort, Manafort has no info on Trump. Mueller wants Manafort to compose a case.

I thought the government outlawed torture?

I can’t really assess the strength of these allegations against Manaforte. But both Meuller and his deputy Weissman are known their complete lack of ethics and their sleazeball tactics.

“‘Do not misunderstand my disdain for him with ineffectiveness or something not to be concerned with,’ said Dan Cogdell, who represented three Enron defendants. ‘He’s a formable prosecutor. If I’m Donald Trump and I know the backstory of Andrew Weissmann, it’s going to concern me. There is no question about it.’

…They say he intimidated witnesses by threatening indictments, created crimes that did not exist and, in one case, withheld evidence that could have aided the accused. At one hearing, an incredulous district court judge looked down at an Enron defendant and told him he was pleading guilty to a wire fraud crime that did not exist.

…Those convictions for which Mr. Wray offered praise in 2004?

Mr. Weissmann’s cases against Andersen and Merrill Lynch lay in shambles just a few years later.

The Supreme Court, in a 9-0 vote in 2005, overturned the Andersen conviction. A year later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erased all the fraud convictions against four Merrill Lynch managers. The jury had acquitted another defendant.

“People went off to prison for a completely phantom of a case,” said Mr. Kirkendall.”

Those four Merrill Lynch managers mentioned above? Weissman was able to send them to prison in lieu of bail for a long time pre-trial. And when I say prison, I don’t mean a county jail, where a defendant normally is held before they’re convicted. No, actual federal prison. And since some of those managers had wives and young children Weissman made sure to send them out of state and as far away so their families could not visit.

It was all intended to crush their wills because Weissman wanted bigger fish and these men weren’t giving them up. When I heard about Mueller’s charges against Manaforte that was my first thought. Mueller really wants Trump, and Manaforte isn’t rolling over. So Mueller wants to squeeze him by making his life a lot more uncomfortable so Manaforte will tell him what he wants to hear. And frankly neither Mueller or Weissman care if it’s true or not.

“DOJ Defends FBI Deputy Director Andrew Weissmann Against Serious Ethics Charges Pending in NY

Serious ethical charges against FBI Deputy Director Andrew Weissmann are pending before the First Judicial Department Disciplinary Committee in New York. The charges arise from his role in hiding evidence favorable to the defense when he was a federal prosecutor leading the Enron Task Force. The Department of Justice is handling his defense.

According to the DOJ, there was no violation of the rules of ethics, even if Weissmann “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense—as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Enron Task Force did. Mr. Weissmann, who also serves as General Counsel to the FBI, has pitched his entire ethics defense on the claim that the Rules of Professional Conduct require prosecutors to disclose to the defense team only information that is both favorable and “material.” That may be the standard for reversing a criminal conviction under the Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in Brady v. Maryland, but the ethical rules require more.

Any notion that the Rules of Professional Conduct merely codify or mirror Brady, and do not press beyond it, would be a major NEWS FLASH to anyone even moderately familiar with legal ethics. The text of the rule (usually a paragraph of Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor), explicitly requires prosecutors “to make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused.” What part of “all” is confusing to the Department of Justice?…”

Do you want to know how Weissman retained his law license? Without informing the attorneys who had filed the complaint the Disciplinary Commitree handed the case off to the DoJ and asked that its Office of Professional Responsibility resolve the matter.

Naturally since the DoJ had been defending Weissman against the charges, they quickly decided he was innocent.

Attorneys, this is how you got your reputation as sleazeballs.

I thought this was an interesting article on the Manafort
Witness Tampering claim by the Mueller team.

I agree that there is little, if any evidence that Manafort made a credible effort to “tamper’ with this witness’ testimony.