Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | ePaper
Ex-Trump campaign head lied about giving polling data to Russian
Reuters, Washington :
U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was accused by federal prosecutors of lying about sharing polling data related to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign with a business partner with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, according to portions of a court filing by Manafort's defence team that were inadvertently made public on Tuesday.
Before sending the document to a public database for federal court filings, lawyers for Manafort had tried to black out the portion on polling data and other information about Manafort's interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business partner of Manafort's who Mueller has claimed in court filings has ties to Russian intelligence.
But some journalists, including at Vox and the Guardian, realized the redacted portions could be electronically reversed and posted uncensored versions on Twitter. Reuters did not independently review the filing, which was soon replaced in the public database with a properly redacted version.
Manafort's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment on the matter. A spokesman for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is prosecuting Manafort, declined to comment. Kilimnik could not be reached for comment.
According to the unredacted versions posted online, the blacked-out sections showed that Manafort has been accused by Mueller of lying about his sharing of polling data on the 2016 campaign with Kilimnik.
The sections posted online also stated that Mueller's office believes that Manafort lied to prosecutors about his discussions with Kilimnik about a "Ukrainian peace plan" and a meeting that Manafort had with Kilimnik when they both were in Madrid.
The filing did not provide further details on the Madrid meeting or the peace plan, although Mueller has scrutinized a proposal by a Ukrainian lawmaker that involved, among other outcomes, the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.
In the document Manafort's lawyers referenced a December court filing in which Mueller alleged that Manafort had "conceded" to discussing the peace plan, which they argued was an indication that their client was forthcoming when his memory was refreshed of past events.