Sign up for the latest Russia investigation updates here»
The special counsel Robert Mueller's office revealed on Wednesday the names of two potential witnesses it is accusing Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, of trying to tamper with in the Russia investigation.
The people are Alan Friedman and Eckart Sager, two former journalists based in Europe. Friedman and Sager spearheaded efforts by the Hapsburg Group — a lobbying organization consisting of former European leaders — to lobby on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, then Ukraine's president, in Europe and the US.
Shortly after filing documents that revealed Friedman's and Sager's names, the special counsel refiled the court documents with the names redacted.
Manafort and an associate, the former Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik, were indicted last week on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice based on accusations they tried to tamper with witness testimony.
In a separate filing last week, prosecutors detailed Manafort's and Kilimnik's activities that are said to have taken place over several days in February, after Manafort's longtime associate Rick Gates pleaded guilty and began cooperating with prosecutors. Friedman and Sager were initially named as "Person D1" and "Person D2" in court documents.
In one communication, Manafort sent Friedman a message with a link to a Business Insider article about the Hapsburg Group's activities. The article said, among other things, that the Hapsburg Group worked in the US and in Europe. One minute after sending the article, Manafort sent Friedman a message saying he had "made clear" that the group worked only in Europe.
Friedman subsequently contacted Mueller's office and said he believed Manafort's messages were part of an effort to "suborn perjury," or coax them into giving false testimony, because he knew the group worked in both Europe and the US.
When Friedman didn't respond to Manafort's messages, Kilimnik reached out to Sager to relay the same message and told Sager that Manafort had been attempting to reach Friedman.
Source : http://uk.businessinsider.com/mueller-reveals-names-of-witnesses-paul-manafort-tried-to-tamper-with-2018-6361