Manafort attorney's seek disclosure of information shared by Mueller prosecutor with newsmen before he was appointed
Senior Justice Department prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann arranged a meeting with the Associated Press in April, 2016 to discuss circumstances surrounding Paul Manafort’s case before he was appointed to Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel. According to recent court filings submitted to the Eastern District of Virginia court, the meeting was held during the time a Grand Jury had convened in Manafort’s case.Weissmann record of treating targets unfairly has previously been reported as has the courts tossing convictions based on his prosecutions. There is really no excuse for holding this information from the defense until just a few days before a trial.
Manafort’s lawyers are requesting a hearing based on Weissmann’s alleged improper disclosure of confidential grand jury information, non-public information, false information and potentially classified materials, the court documents state. Weissmann met with AP journalists on April 11 after reporters informed him of their own investigation into Manafort’s dealings with Ukrainian officials.
CourthouseNews.com points out that, according to Manafort’s attorney, Jay Nanavati, “the government turned over roughly 50,000 pages of new discovery materials to the defense on Friday, ‘a mere 19 days before the scheduled trial in this case.’”
According to sources with knowledge of the meeting, the reporters had reached out to Weissmann on a different story earlier in the year and it was during that conversation that the AP team told Weissmann of their investigation into Manafort. However, according to the recent documents, it was Weissmann that called for the meeting. On April 12–one day after the meeting–the AP published the explosive expose on Manafort.
“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” stated Kevin Downing, Manafort’s lawyer, in a motion requesting a hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”