Manafort tried to pen positive opinion piece on work for Ukraine, says US special counsel

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, has managed to get himself in hot water again - this time for working with a Russian colleague to draft an op-ed piece about his political work for Ukraine.
A prosecutor working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team said Mr Manafort was working on the article as recently as Nov 30.
A prosecutor working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team said Mr Manafort was working on the article as recently as Nov 30.PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election on Monday (Dec 4) accused President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Mr Paul Manafort, of working with a Russian colleague to draft an opinion piece about his political work for Ukraine.

In court filings, a prosecutor working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team said Mr Manafort was working on the article as recently as Nov 30.

Had it been published, prosecutors say it would have violated a Nov 8 court order not to discuss the case publicly.

The Russian colleague who was working with Mr Manafort, allegedly to shape public opinion about his work for a Ukrainian political party, has ties to Russian intelligence agencies, according to the filing. It did not name the Russian colleague.

Mr Manafort ultimately never published the opinion piece, after prosecutors reached out to his attorneys to alert them, they said in the filing.

Because of Mr Manafort's actions, prosecutors said the judge should reject his request to modify his bail conditions.

Mr Manafort has proposed posting US$11.65 million (S$15.70 million) in exchange for lifting him from house arrest and electronic monitoring.

"Even if the ghost-written op-ed were entirely accurate, fair and balanced, it would be a violation of this court's Nov 8 order if it had been published," wrote prosecutor Andrew Weissmann.

A spokesman for Mr Manafort did not have any immediate comment.