Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Prosecutors say longtime Manafort colleague has 'ties' to Russian intelligence

Prosecutors say longtime Manafort colleague has 'ties' to Russian intelligence

In a filing Monday, lawyers for the special counsel's office wrote Manafort has, as late as November 30, been ghost-writing an op-ed with an unnamed Russian colleague "regarding his political work for Ukraine".

In a new filing Monday afternoon, Mueller's investigators said Manafort was working on an editorial in English as late as last Thursday and that it related to his political work for Ukraine, which factored into his money-laundering and foreign lobbying criminal charges. It was unclear what name the op-ed would use as the author, or what publication it was to appear in.

Such an editorial, if published, would have violated an order from the judge barring the parties and the lawyers from making statements about the case that might prejudice the proceedings, prosecutors said.

Furthermore, the co-writer of the alleged editorial is described in the DOJ court filing as a "long-time Russian colleague of Manafort's, who is now based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service".

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Manafort relinquished his passport and was placed under house arrest; his bail was set at $10 million.


Mueller isn't asking that Manafort be sent to the hoosegow. They pleaded not guilty, and are scheduled for a trial next year.

The piece "clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of defendant Manafort", prosecutors wrote, noting there would be no other reason for Manafort and the colleague to have it published under someone else's name.

"It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts", the prosecutors added.

It still needed the court's approval, but Mueller's office said in its filing on Monday that the government no longer supported the deal.

"Even if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Court's November 8 Order if it had been published", the prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors aren't asking for Manafort to be incarcerated while the criminal case against him goes forward, but they are asking the judge to now consider tougher release conditions, including continuing Global Positioning System monitoring and requiring him to post assets that aren't already subject to forfeiture in the criminal case.

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