Special Counsel Robert Mueller is working to revoke Paul Manafort's bail.
Andrew Weissman, representing the Special Counsel's office, wrote a legal memorandum arguing that President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman was in breach of his recently agreed-to bail agreement and therefore should immediately go to jail as he awaits his trial for multiple charges of fraud and money laundering.
Weissman's memo asserts that Manafort was recently working with a Russian intelligence operative to draft an op-ed about his advisory work in Ukraine. Manafort previously worked for Ukrainian dictator Viktor Yanukovych, a man widely considered to be a lackey of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The central point of Weissman's claim was that any such op-ed would have violated the spirit of the bail agreement, which had placed a public gag order on Manafort.
Paul Manafort and a long-time Russia-based colleague with ties to Russian intelligence were caught last week ghost-writing an op-ed about his work in Ukraine, federal prosecutors working for special Russia counsel Robert Mueller said in a Monday court filing. Mueller’s office argued that by working on the article, which was never published, Manafort violated a gag order imposed on his case. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including fraud and money laundering.
Manafort currently has a gag order, meaning that he cannot make any public statements. It appears Manafort and his Russian ally were attempting to create a public relations document.
“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). It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts,” Weissmann added.
Mueller considers Manafort's ally a Russian intelligence operative.
Mueller’s office said it learned late last week about the draft Manafort op-ed, which was being ghostwritten in English as late as Nov. 30 with a “long-time Russian colleague of Manafort’s, who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.”