President Donald Trump's fromer campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been working on an op-ed with a former colleague "assessed to have ties" to Russian intelligence in an effort to influence public perception of his foreign lobbying, according to court documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators Monday. Now prosecutors are opposing a motion to lift Manafort's house arrest because this article, if published, would have violated the court's gag order on the case.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was indicted on money laundering and other charges October 30.
A person close to Manafort rejected the government's filing: "Apparently the Office of Special Counsel thinks Manafort loses his First Amendment rights once he is indicted".
In court filings, a prosecutor working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team said Manafort was working on the article as recently as November 30. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Both men are now under home confinement as their lawyers try to work out new bail conditions with the special counsel and the court.
On Monday, the special counsel asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson either to reject the deal, keeping Manafort under home confinement pending further negotiations, or impose additional restrictions, including making the $10 million forfeitable for other breaches of the terms and requiring Manafort to remain under Global Positioning System monitoring.
The court filing said Manafort was involved in the editorial as late as Thursday.
"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", Mueller's team wrote.
Manafort's attorney told Mueller's team that they would take steps to make sure the op-ed wasn't published, according to the court filing.
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. "It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts". 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.