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Manafort attorneys file response under seal to Mueller’s lying allegations
Defense attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have filed their response under seal to special counsel Robert Mueller's allegations that their client repeatedly lied to federal investigators, court records show.
The decision means that the public will not know whether Manafort contests Mueller's allegations that he lied about his Trump administration contacts as well as his interactions with an associate suspected of having ties with Russian intelligence, at least for now.
A federal judge had set a midnight deadline Monday for Manafort's defense attorneys to respond to the allegations in a filing. The deadline came and went with no filing appearing on the court docket. Jason Maloni, Manafort's spokesman, subsequently told The Hill on Tuesday morning that the filing was made under seal.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the Obama appointee overseeing Manafort's trial in D.C., has ordered that a redacted version of the response be filed on the public docket, but it remains unclear when that will be.
Manafort agreed to plead guilty to two conspiracy charges and cooperate with federal prosecutors in September, after he was convicted on bank and tax fraud charges by a jury in Alexandria, Va., in a case stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But Mueller accused Manafort in late November of lying to prosecutors with the special counsel's office, and other Justice Department officials, in breach of his plea agreement. In a partially redacted filing last month, Mueller alleged that Manafort falsely stated that he had no direct or indirect communications with any Trump administration officials after signing his plea deal.
Prosecutors also accused Manafort of lying about meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik and his role in an alleged witness tampering scheme in which both were charged by Mueller last year. Kilimnik ran the offshoot of Manafort's consulting business in Ukraine and is believed to have ties to Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU.
Mueller's team also said Manafort lied about a $125,000 payment to a firm working for him. Additionally, they accused him of lying to other Justice Department officials about information relevant to an unknown investigation being conducted in another district.
At the time, Manafort's defense team said their client believed he had told the truth and was not in violation of his plea agreement. Berman Jackson has set a tentative date for him to be sentenced on March 5.
Updated: 12:33 p.m.