Mueller: Paul Manafort Writing Op-Ed with 'Russian Intelligence' Colleague

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The special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election on Monday accused President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of working with a Russian colleague to draft an opinion piece about his political work for Ukraine.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has abruptly withdrawn support for a bail agreement he struck last week with Paul Manafort's legal team.

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.

A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

The filing continued: "Because Manafort has now taken actions that reflect an intention to violate or circumvent the court's existing orders. the government submits that the proposed bail package is insufficiently reasonable to assure his appearance as required".

Mueller's team allege that Manafort and a colleague were "ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine" as recently as November 30.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has abruptly reversed course on a bail agreement his office struck with Paul Manafort's legal team last week that would have allowed him to be released from Global Positioning System monitoring.

The op-ed was never published, but government lawyers wrote the violation shows Manafort is untrustworthy.

"The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public's opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication [much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another's name]".

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". It does not provide for Global Positioning System monitoring.

As part of that deal, he would forfeit four of his real estate properties if he violated his bail conditions.

Manafort and top aide Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. Prosecutors have argued since his arrest October 30 that Manafort is a flight risk.