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Manafort filing reveals alleged campaign communications with Russian operative

Manafort filing reveals alleged campaign communications with Russian operative

Paul Manafort's lawyers filed court documents Tuesday in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's allegations that he violated the terms of his cooperation deal by lying.

After leveling that accusation, prosecutors filed a heavily-redacted court document describing five areas in which Manafort is accused of lying to government investigators, including misleading statements about his contacts with Trump administration officials.

"The defence contests the Government's conclusion and contends that any alleged misstatements, to the extent they occurred at all, were not intentional", Manafort's lawyers said in the filing to US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, who is handling one of two cases against Manafort.

And in a third redaction apparently gone wrong, defense lawyers revealed that Manafort may have greenlighted an unnamed third party to drop his name if that person secured a meeting with President Trump.

The filing contains new information about Manafort's connections to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian business associate who was indicted a year ago on charges he tampered with potential witnesses.

The information was accidentally revealed in a defense filing and was meant to be redacted.

The schedule for court filings over the matter was set at a conference on December 11, with the court outlining the dates by which each side would have to submit filings related to Manafort's alleged breach of his plea agreement.

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The details about Manafort's alleged falsehoods come just as Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who famously attended a meeting with top Trump aides in 2016, was charged in a separate obstruction of justice case. Manafort allegedly shared the data while he was working on Donald Trump's Republican campaign.

They also said Manafort was awakened before dawn on the days he was interviewed and normally spent the entire day talking with investigators.

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 US sanctions on Russian Federation, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mueller had previously accused Manafort of lying about his interactions with Kilimnik, a Russian national who used to run the offshoot of Manafort's consulting business in Ukraine. Manafort reportedly asked Kilimnik to offer the Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska private briefings on the Trump campaign in exchange for debt forgiveness.

"Issues and communications related to Ukrainian political events simply were not at the forefront of Mr. Manafort's mind during the period at issue and it is not surprising at all that Mr. Manafort was unable to recall specific details prior to having his recollection refreshed", they wrote.

The defence team says Mr Mueller's team has indicated it will not pursue additional charges against Manafort. They say the allegations can be addressed during the presentencing process.