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Manafort ghostwrote op-ed with colleague tied to Russian spies, prosecutors say

Manafort ghostwrote op-ed with colleague tied to Russian spies, prosecutors say

Paul Manafort leaves the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after a status conference on November 2, 2017.

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and a colleague with ties to Russian intelligence ghostwrote an op-ed touting Manafort's work in Ukraine, according to a court filing Monday by prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The statement came as prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III withdrew their support for a joint bail deal filed last week that would have released Manafort from home detention and Global Positioning System monitoring while he awaits trial on charges including money laundering and fraud. "The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek it's publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another's name)", prosecutors wrote, saying he was working on it as recently as November 30. However, Manafort has had a long-standing Russian employee named Konstantin Kilimnik who ran Manafort's office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there. His alleged co-author is a Russian with connections to that nation's intelligence services, according to court documents.

A prosecutor working on Mueller's team argued that the request should be denied because the op-ed, if it had been published, would've violated a court order not to discuss the case publicly, Reuters reported Monday, citing court filings. Prosecutors did not name Manfort's Kremlin connected colleague, but did note he is now in Russian Federation.

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They face charges including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the United States and failing to register as foreign agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

The indictment did not point to any of Manafort's work for Trump's campaign, which took place between March of 2016 until his ouster in August.

Mueller on Friday brought charges against Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with top Kremlin officials.

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. Last week, Manafort's attorneys said they had reached such an agreement with Mueller's team.


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