Business

Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort in court hours after his ex-business partner Roger Stone is busted in Mueller case

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018.

Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort appeared in federal court in Washington on Friday morning, hours after his former lobbying partner Roger Stone was arrested in a predawn FBI raid as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigations of people in the orbit of President Donald Trump.

Manafort’s previously scheduled hearing relates to Mueller’s claims that the Republican operative repeatedly lied to the special counsel’s office after pleading guilty to multiple crimes related to his work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

Mueller says those lies violated Manafort’s plea agreement with the special counsel’s office. The alleged lies included Manafort’s communications with a longtime business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is allegedly a Russian agent.

Lawyers for Manafort say he did not intentionally mislead Mueller’s team.

At Friday’s hearing, a prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, said the special counsel’s office does not currently intend to have Manafort tried on criminal charges that were set aside after he pleaded guilty last year.

However, Weissman said that Mueller’s office no longer believes that Manafort should get any credit for cooperation with that office when he is sentenced.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not make any ruling at the hearing. Instead, she said she would hold a sealed hearing on Feb. 4 to discuss Mueller’s evidence that Manafort breached his plea agreement. A redacted transcript of that hearing will be released afterward.

Four days after that hearing, on Feb. 8, Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in a related case in federal court in Virginia.

Manafort is being held without bail as he awaits sentencing. He walked into court Friday morning with the aid of cane. Manafort is suffering from gout, according to court documents.

As Manafort’s hearing began, Stone was awaiting his presentment in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Stone and Manafort had previously run a Washington lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, in the 1980s and ’90s.

A seven-count indictment accuses Stone of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements to Congress.

The indictment says Stone was in contact in 2016 with high-ranking officials in Trump’s presidential campaign about efforts to leak damaging information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that had been obtained by the activist group Wikileaks. That information had originally been illegally obtained by Russian agents, Mueller has previously said.

Stone is also accused of lying to Congress about his interactions with Wikileaks, falsely claiming he did not possess records about his contacts with the group and trying to persuade a witness to give false testimony.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Stone’s arrest had “nothing to do with the president.”

[“source-cnbc”]