The partially redacted transcript, of a lengthy hearing that took place behind closed doors on Monday, shows that Mueller's team contended that when Manafort was debriefed by prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, he seemed to be trying to avoid providing information that could be damaging to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian national who was deeply involved in Manafort's political consulting work in Ukraine. Manafort's motivation may have been to "augment his chances for a pardon", Weissmann said, according to a section of the transcript that's heavily redacted.
Manafort's hopes for a pardon was one of several revelations in the 142-page transcript of a sealed hearing.
Instead, the deal collapsed, with prosecutors withdrawing any offer of a recommendation for leniency and accusing Manafort in late November of lying repeatedly to them.
The pair also met in December 2016, in January 2017 when Kilimnik was in Washington and again in February 2017, and as recently as the winter of 2018, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson summarized at the hearing, the transcript shows. And Weissman was also careful to note to the judge that there were certain facts he wasn't willing to reveal in court. "That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel".
In a final allegation, prosecutors have said Manafort lied about the terms of a $125,000 payment toward an apparent debt he incurred to a law firm he employed in 2017. "He did not lie in any way", his lawyer, Richard Westling, said at the hearing.
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Mueller's prosecutors, who have charged more than 30 people, are investigating whether anyone in the Trump campaign conspired with Russians. Kilimnik worked with Manafort and Manafort's former right-hand man, Rick Gates. Kilimnik, who was also indicted in the Manafort case but has been beyond the reach of US law enforcement, has been described by prosecutors as someone with ties to Russian intelligence. He's overseas and hasn't answered the charges. Her finding whether he breached the September 14 plea deal could influence how harshly she sentences him. He was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud, in August.
In the same court documents, Manafort's defense counsel wrote that their client "discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion", but details of the alleged plan and the timeframe in which Manafort and Kilimnik discussed it were not described. Gates also spoke to investigators about Manafort sharing the polling data, according to the transcript.
"I am aware that he was cross-examined fiercely, that his credibility was shaken enormously, that there were a number of issues that you argued successfully that he was not a good source, that there was evidence produced that he benefited from a lot of the financial things that were wrong, and that his credibility was attacked", Jackson said.
The transcript added a fresh hint of intrigue to a previously known August 2, 2016, meeting at the Grand Havana Room, an upscale cigar bar in Manhattan, between Manafort and Kilimnik at the height of the Trump campaign. And in 2016. there is an in-person meeting with someone who the government has certainly proffered to this court in the past, is understood by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assessed to be - have a relationship with Russian intelligence, that there is [redacted]. Trump told the New York Post at the time.
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