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Paul Manafort appears in court for first time in three months

Posted at 9:48 AM, Jan 25, 2019

Paul Manafort entered a federal courtroom Friday morning for the first time in three months.

The jailed former Trump campaign chairman was last seen by the public at an October court hearing, when a security officer brought him in a wheelchair to sit by his lawyers. He had one foot bandaged and raised because he suffered from gout. Manafort wanted to skip Friday's hearing in a Washington federal court, but the judge ordered him to appear.

He walked into the courtroom using a cane and was allowed to wear a suit rather than his dark green inmate uniform.

The appearance comes as special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled an indictment against longtime Trump associate Roger Stone.

The hearing Friday is intended for District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to weigh prosecutors' accusations that the former Trump campaign chairman lied about five topics, including his contacts with his longtime Russian co-conspirator Konstantin Kilimnik and with Trump administration officials. The lying allegedly happened last fall during Manafort's nine interviews at the special counsel's office and before two federal grand jury sessions following his guilty plea for conspiracy and witness tampering.

Manafort's attorneys have said they disagree with the accusation -- that instead, Manafort misremembered details when he spoke to investigators and did not intend to lie.

If the judge agrees Manafort was not truthful or forthcoming during his cooperation sessions, he could lose some benefits of his plea deal.

He has been jailed since June because of the witness tampering charges. His lawyers say he has been kept in solitary confinement at the Alexandria, Virginia, detention center for his own safety for months, and he has physically and mentally deteriorated.

Kilimnik, his co-defendant in the witness tampering case, has not appeared in US court because he lives in Russia. Kilimnik hasn't been charged with additional crimes, though Mueller's team has made clear in recent court filings they are still interested in the Russian intelligence-linked operative's dealings with Manafort during the 2016 presidential election.

In particular, Mueller's team asked Manafort about his communication with Kilimnik about a Ukraine peace plan and about 2016 presidential election polling. While he worked on the campaign, Manafort sought to pass the polling information through Kilimnik to two Ukrainian oligarchs who owed him money, according to past CNN reporting.

This story is breaking and will be updated.


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