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

Writing the op-ed would be a violation of Manafort's bail | Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Writing the op-ed would be a violation of Manafort's bail | Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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.

Mueller's team said it learned last week that Manafort has been working with a Russian compatriot on a newspaper column that prosecutors say violates a gag order by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller say Manafort has been working on an op-ed with a longtime colleague "assessed to have ties" to a Russian intelligence service.

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.

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

The op-ed mentioned in Mueller's court filing on Monday shows the lengths to which Manafort went to paint himself in a more favorable light, against Jackson's subsequent court order barring those involved in the case from speaking about it to the public.

There is also a note in the filing that says the government is asking the court if it can submit "documentary evidence" under seal, in order to avoid having the full draft of the op-ed be published.

Initially, Manafort's lawyers had said in their court filing that the special counsel's office was willing to accept the proposed terms of his release.

That colleague was likely Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian citizen and longtime protege of Manafort who he had used as a liaison to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska during the campaign.

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.

The agreed-upon bail package would have required Manafort to forfeit four of his properties in Virginia, Florida, and New York - worth a combined $11.65 million - if he violated his bail by attempting to travel internationally or anywhere outside of Florida, Virginia, New York, and Washington, DC. All the charges related to alleged money laundering undertaken by Manafort in his time as a lobbyist.

An attorney for Manafort did not immediately return a request for comment.

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

The filing said that Berman Jackson should impose additional measures on Manafort than were mentioned in his proposal, including Global Positioning System monitoring and a "fully secured bond".

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