Special counsel Robert Mueller is backing away from a bail deal with Paul Manafort after it was revealed on Monday the former Trump campaign chairman ghostwrote an op-ed piece about his work in Ukraine, according to court documents.
Manafort tried to have the op-ed published under another name after drafting it as late as last week with an associate “assessed to have ties” to a Russia intelligence service, per the court filing made on Monday by prosecutors working for Mueller.
Manafort is under house arrest, pending a bond arrangement with the government, while he faces felony charges related to money laundering and financial crimes pertaining to political consulting jobs in Ukraine.
A court order issued on Nov. 8 by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson prohibited "such out-of-court statements in order to protect the fairness of the upcoming trial,” the prosecutors wrote.
“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),” they stated. “It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts.”
Prosecutors did not include the op-ed or disclose the pseudonym in the documents to prevent them from becoming public, but alerted Manafort's legal team to the issue on Thursday to avoid publication.
The government further argued Manafort's efforts to "violate or circumvent" the court's order mean his bail package is no longer sufficient.
Manafort had denied any wrongdoing over the course of Mueller's Russia probe. A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.