Former Donald Trump campaign manager and now-pardoned felon Paul Manafort lied repeatedly to investigators about arranging to share polling data on U.S. citizens with a Russian spy, according to federal prosecutors.
The revelation was included in court files unsealed Monday by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
Manafort lied about his relationship with spy Konstantin Kilimnik during the time Robert Mueller was the special counsel investigating suspected Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in order to manipulate the presidential election, according to the files.
Manafort and his campaign deputy Rick Gates “periodically” fed internal polling data from the Trump campaign to Kilimnik, according to the documents submitted to the District of Columbia federal court. He then passed the information on to the Kremlin.
Kilimnik, a “known Russian Intelligence Services agent,” was one of 16 individuals and 16 entities sanctioned last month by the Treasury Department for conducting “Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” according to a White House fact sheet.
Manafort insisted he never told Gates to share the campaign files with Kilimnik, but that was contradicted by emails and testimony from Gates, according to the released files.
The documents were filed to show that Manafort had violated a plea deal with federal investigators with his repeated lies, according to federal prosecutors.
Manafort also is accused of lying about several discussions he had with the spy about Kilimnik’s Ukraine “peace plan,” which investigators considered a strategy to divide the nation and provide a “backdoor way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine,” according to one of the documents.
Manafort was convicted of several crimes in 2019 after the Mueller investigation, including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct justice, and tax and bank fraud. He was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. Trump pardoned him in December, declaring him an innocent victim of “perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history.”
Asked if he contacted anyone in the Trump administration after his convictions, Manafort told the Mueller team that he hadn’t. That was also a lie, the federal prosecutors said.
Manafort claimed after signing his plea agreement that he had “no direct or indirect communication with anyone” in the Trump administration “on any subject matter,” according to the court records.
But prosecutors wrote: “The evidence demonstrates that Manafort lied ... Manafort had contacts with Administration officials.”
Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, could not immediately be reached Monday for comment. At the time the motions were filed, he responded that discrepancies in Manafort’s answers to investigators were due to “mistakes and failed recollections,” not lies.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of Kilimnik. He’s believed to be in Russia.