Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed new criminal charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as well as Russian citizen and former Manafort operative Konstantin Kilimnik.
The superseding indictment, which is the third against Manafort, was issued by a Washington, DC, federal court grand jury on Friday.
“A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia has returned a third superseding indictment today against Paul J. Manafort, Jr., 69, of Alexandria, Va., which adds Konstantin Kilimnik, 48, of Moscow, Russia, as a defendant and charges both defendants with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice,” the Special Counsel said in a statement.
The obstruction of justice charges are related to allegations Mueller has made in a recent court filing that Manafort had “conspired to corruptly persuade” two potential witnesses to influence their accounts of his lobbying on behalf of political parties in Ukraine.
Mueller has asked a judge to revoke Manafort’s $10 million bail and imprison him due to the allegations.
Manafort already faces five felony charges, which include, conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, making false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act statements, and false statements.
Kilimnik is a longtime employee of Manafort’s political-consulting entities, who had done work for Manafort in Ukraine. He is also suspected of having connections with Russian intelligence services.
Meanwhile, Renato Marriotti, a former federal prosecutor, described the new indictment as politically significant because it is the first one where a Russian and an American have been indicted together, the strongest evidence yet for potential cooperation between the two parties.
“I think there’s been a narrative for a while that they’re waiting to find collusion … conspiracy seems very similar to collusion to me. That’s about as close of an analogue as you’re going to find in the law,” Marriotti said.
Mueller’s investigation seeks to find out whether the Russian government coordinated with Trump’s aides after the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and the president.