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Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort accused of attempted witness tampering

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has accused former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of attempted witness tampering.

One of the witnesses told investigators recently that Manafort wanted them to commit perjury about a lobbying effort they worked on for him in the US, the filing said.

Manafort is currently out on house arrest and a $10 million unsecured bail. He awaits a trial in Virginia that is scheduled for late July and a trial in DC scheduled to begin in September. He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his failure to disclose his US lobbying work for a foreign government and to bank fraud and other financial crimes.

Tampering with a witness is a crime in itself -- and it's one Manafort has not yet been charged with.

The new allegation places even more pressure on Manafort, who has stared down prosecutors as they heaped charges on him and say they continue to investigate the possibility that he coordinated with Russians during the 2016 presidential election.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said Tuesday that the former campaign chairman was innocent.

"Nothing about this latest allegation changes our defense. We will do our talking in court," Maloni said.

Manafort must respond more thoroughly by Friday in court to the special counsel's office allegations that he attempted to tamper with witnesses before his trial. He and Mueller's prosecutors will also discuss the allegation and whether he should be imprisoned for violating his bail terms at a hearing June 15. At that hearing, an FBI agent who tracked Manafort's communications with the potential witnesses and the witnesses themselves, who have not been named, may testify, the federal judge in the case, Amy Berman Jackson, said Tuesday morning.

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