Special Counsel Robert Mueller secured yet another indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort Friday, adding obstruction of justice charges based on the same “witness tampering” Mueller’s prosecutors alleged Monday in a motion to have Manafort’s bail revoked.
The only new information that comes to light with Friday’s indictment is the confirmation of the identity of the second person Mueller’s prosecutors accuse of contacting the employees of a public relations firm “in an effort to influence their testimony and to otherwise conceal evidence.” That man is Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Manafort’s consulting firm who, together with Manafort, represented pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.
An Atlantic profile earlier this week portrays Kilimnik as Manafort’s long-time “aide-de-camp” in Eastern Europe. Moreover, several court documents filed by Mueller’s prosecutors refer to Kilimnik as having “ties” to Russian intelligence organizations. “Or to put it even more bluntly than Mueller: Donald Trump’s campaign chairman had a pawn of Russian intelligence as his indispensable alter ego,” the Atlantic’s Franklin Foer wrote Wednesday.
Kilimnik is not known to reside in the United States.
The new indictment contains no allegations involving Kilimnik’s alleged ties to Russian intelligence. It merely restates the accusations first unveiled Monday against him and Manafort, transferring the allegations of witness tampering from a violation of the terms of Manafort’s bail to two counts of obstruction of justice against both him and Kilimnik.
Manafort’s defense team has denied that any attempt to tamper with witnesses took place. “Mr. Manafort is innocent and nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Tuesday. “We will do our talking in court.”
In addition to the now seven-count indictment in Washington, DC, Manafort faces additional charges in the Eastern District of Virginia. All the charges stem from Manafort’s alleged conduct years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.