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

Mueller urges judge to deny Manafort's request to lift house arrest

Mueller urges judge to deny Manafort's request to lift house arrest

Special Counsel Robert Meuller's team says former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a Russian pal were ghost-writing an editorial about Manafort's work for Ukraine.

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.

"Manafort worked on the draft with a long-time Russian colleague of Manafort's, who is now based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service", prosecutors asserted in a four-page filing.

Mueller's team asked that the bail package be made tougher in light of Manafort's actions, including a requirement that he put up more assets and be subject to fulltime Global Positioning System monitoring. The bail agreement the lawyers appeared to have reached would have freed him from house arrest and Global Positioning System monitoring while asking him to post more than $11 million in real estate as collateral.

Prosecutors did not disclose the op-ed in court papers so as to prevent it from becoming public.

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In the four-page filing Monday, prosecutor Andrew Weissman urged the judge to reject the bail deal, arguing that Manafort and a Russian colleague have been secretly ghostwriting an English-language editorial that appeared to defend Manafort's work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

"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.

The Russian associate's name is not mentioned in the filing, but as Business Insider correspondent Natasha Bertrand noted on Monday evening, the individual is most likely Russian-Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort's former colleague of 11 years, whom he had emailed in July 2016, offering "private [campaign] briefings" to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

That writing violated a November 8 court order "prohibiting such out-of-court statements in order to protect the fairness of the upcoming trial", the court filing said.

A docket in the criminal case against Manafort and Gates, unsealed earlier this month, alleged that both men had received "millions of dollars" from Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs that would allow them "to live comfortably abroad" and therefore make them a flight risk.

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A spokesman for Manafort did not have any immediate comment.

But the revelation complicates Manafort's bid to have the judge lift the house arrest that he's been under since his first court appearance on October 30.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a motion today opposing the deal, saying circumstances have changed since the government consented to the arrangement.

The court filing said Manafort was involved in the editorial as late as Thursday.

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