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Judge Allows Manafort to Respond to Lying Allegations Under Seal, Told to Redact Public Version


Paul Manafort, President Trump Campaign Director

Lawyers for former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort filed a reply under seal on Wednesday morning. This latest batch of court documents was submitted in order to respond to last week’s filings by Robert Mueller wherein the special counsel purported to document Manafort’s alleged lies to federal investigators after pleading guilty to various crimes in Washington, D.C.

Manafort was previously ordered to submit his response to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by 10:00 a.m.

In a minute order from U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson an hour and a half after the deadline for Manafort’s own submission, Manafort’s legal team was given permission to file their response to Mueller under seal.

“The Clerk of Court is directed to filed under seal…Attachment 1, the unredacted version of defendant’s reply to the Special Counsel’s declaration and exhibits in support of its breach determination,” the brief order notes. “The Clerk of Court is also directed to unseal … the motion itself.”

A minute order is–as noted–very brief. Thus the name. Here, Judge Jackson has agreed to allow Manafort’s attorneys to respond to the special counsel’s alleged documentation of the lies Manafort allegedly told investigators after his plea deal–beyond the full grasp of the public.

Notably, Manafort’s attorneys were also ordered to submit a redacted version of their latest filing; this one for public perusal.

“It is further ordered that defendant shall file on the public docket a redacted version of the reply,” the minute order concluded.

Court requests for redacted public filings in tandem with judicial permission to file full replies under seal are nothing of a rarity. In fact, they’re quite common and on January 8, Judge Jackson filed essentially the same minute order–almost verbatim–in response to Manafort over the ongoing breach of plea agreement allegations.

This installment of the years-long Manafort legal saga hit the jackpot of controversy later that same day when it was discovered that Manafort’s would-be redacted filing actually had not been properly redacted. As Law&Crime reported at the time, several sections that seemingly necessitated redactions mentioned both “the President” and “the presidential campaign.”

The meat of those unredacted points, however, revealed that Manafort has been accused of lying about his alleged sharing of 2016 Trump campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political operative who has been accused of having ties to intelligence agencies for the Russian Federation. Manafort’s attorneys disputed this characterization of what occurred and said that their client simply needed to “refresh” his memory.

Last week, Mueller alleged that Manafort lied about his “interactions with Kilimnik” as well as Kilimnik’s “participation” in one of the crimes Manafort was charged with in a recent submission to the court. Mueller also alleged that Manafort lied to investigators about a “wire-transfer to a firm that was working for Manafort,” that he lied about “information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation” and that lied about “his contact with Administration officials.”

Expect Manafort’s response to directly address many of the above claims. This time it might even be properly redacted.

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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