Paul Manafort’s Lawyers Tried—and Failed—to Redact This Sensitive Legal Filing

Ouch! Here’s what they didn’t want you to see.

Bill Clark/ZUMA

When lawyers for Paul Manafort filed documents on Monday responding to special counsel Robert Mueller’s allegations that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman had repeatedly lied to federal investigators, they did so under seal, with Manafort’s defense team signaling that redacted versions would soon be made available to the public.

But that first public offering—which, as promised, included several blacked-out paragraphs—appears to have been extraordinarily botched, as keen media observers quickly noticed that Manafort’s defense team had failed to properly redact sensitive paragraphs they had intended to remain out of the public eye. Among other details, they revealed that Mueller has accused Manafort of lying about sharing polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former employee of Manafort’s in Ukraine with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, as well as efforts by a “third-party asking permission to use Mr. Manafort’s name as an introduction” to Trump.

Below are the paragraphs that were intended for redaction:

  1. (See, e.g., Doc. 460 at 5 (After being shown documents, Mr. Manafort “conceded” that he discussed or may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with Mr. Kilimnik on more than one occasion); id. at 6 (After being told that Mr. Kilimnik had traveled to Madrid on the same day that Mr. Manafort was in Madrid, Mr. Manafort “acknowledged” that he and Mr. Kilimnik met while they were both in Madrid)).
  2. In fact, during a proffer meeting held with the Special Counsel on September 11, 2018, Mr. Manafort explained to the Government attorneys and investigators that he would have given the Ukrainian peace plan more thought, had the issue not been raised during the period he was engaged with work related to the presidential Case 1:17-cr-00201-ABJ Document 471 Filed 01/08/19 Page 5 of 10 6 campaign. 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. The same is true with regard to the Government’s allegation that Mr. Manafort lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign. (See Doc. 460 at 6).
  3. The first alleged misstatement identified in the Special Counsel’s submission (regarding a text exchange on May 26, 2018) related to a text message from a third-party asking permission to use Mr. Manafort’s name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the President. This does not constitute outreach by Mr. Manafort to the President. The second example identified by the Special Counsel is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement (or any witness statements that form the basis for alleging intentional falsehoods).
  4. The first alleged misstatement identified in the Special Counsel’s submission (regarding a text exchange on May 26, 2018) related to a text message from a third-party asking permission to use Mr. Manafort’s name as an introduction in the event the third-party met the President. This does not constitute outreach by Mr. Manafort to the President. The second example identified by the Special Counsel is hearsay purportedly offered by an undisclosed third party and the defense has not been provided with the statement (or any witness statements that form the basis for alleging intentional falsehoods).
  5. The Government has indicated that Mr. Manafort’s statements about this payment are inconsistent with those of others, but the defense has not received any witness statements to support this contention.
You can read the whole filing below: