Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Manafort tried to pen positive op-ed on Ukraine work -special counsel

Manafort tried to pen positive op-ed on Ukraine work -special counsel

Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was indicted in October for multiple counts related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and is now under house arrest, has been working on an op-ed with a colleague "assessed to have ties" to a Russian intelligence services, according to court papers filed Monday by prosecutors working for Mueller.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued an order November 8 barring the parties and counsel in the case from making public statements that could affect Manafort's trial.

Manafort was indicted in October and charged with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to properly file his foreign-made finances, acting as an unregistered foreign agent and making false statements. On Nov. 30, the government alerted Manafort's lawyers to the fact that he was drafting the op-ed and was subsequently "assured that steps would be taken to make sure it was no longer going to be published". They pleaded not guilty, and are scheduled for a trial next year.

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Manafort, who is facing multiple felony charges for financial crimes related to his lobbying work in Ukraine, has been placed under house arrest while his legal team works out a bond agreement federal prosecutors.

The allegation is the first time that prosecutors have claimed any former Trump campaign official has had contacts with a Russian tied to that country's intelligence services.

What you need to know about Paul Manafort's ties to Russian Federation. Manafort has denied any wrongdoing.

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"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 filing says.

"Because bail is substantially about trust - in particular, whether the Court can trust that a defendant will abide by the combination of conditions created to assure his appearance as required ... - and because the newly discovered facts cast doubt on Manafort's willingness to comply with this Court's Orders, Manafort's proposed bail package does not provide the reasonable assurance required by the Bail Reform Act", they wrote.

Along with being under home detention and Global Positioning System monitoring, Manafort has pledged to pay $10 million if he fails to appear in court.

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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. Last week, Manafort's attorneys said they had reached such an agreement with Mueller's team. Deripaska claims Manafort never returned the money and maintains he had no part in Russia's attempts to sway to 2016 USA election.

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