And the hits just keep on comin’.
Paul Manafort has apparently been ghost-writing an editorial about himself. And yes, I am serious.
On November 30, Manafort reached a bail agreement with prosecutors that was set to lift the house arrest he’s been subject to since the Mueller indictment came down early last month. Under the terms of that agreement, Manafort pledged four properties: the Alexandria, Virginia condominium where he was under house arrest, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, home, a Manhattan condo and another piece of property in Bridgehampton. Those properties are together worth nearly $12 million.
“Simply put, Mr. Manafort’s family would face severe economic consequences if he were not to appear as required,” a filing by his attorneys read.
Well as it turns out, Manafort was literally working on an op-ed about himself on the same day that deal was reached.
Specifically, Manafort was collaborating with a Russian colleague on an opinion piece about his work for Ukraine. That colleague has ties to Russian intelligence. To wit, from a filing dated Monday:
As late as November 30, 2017, Manafort and a colleague were ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine. Manafort worked on the draft 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.
Needless to say, Mueller is not amused.
“The editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public’s opinion of defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek it’s publication (much less for Manafort and his long-time associate to ghostwrite it in another’s name),” the filing, which opposes the easing of Manafort’s bail conditions, goes on to say.
Who among us has never secretly worked with a person tied to the FSB to scribble op-eds about Ukraine while facing a federal indictment on 12 count of money laundering, conspiracy, filing false statements and being an unregistered agent of a foreign country? Exactly. pic.twitter.com/A6MIlXklfM
— Carl Prine (@CarlPrinetweets) December 4, 2017
Manafort and his legal team were already warned about this kind of thing once when U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, not to talk to the media following Manafort’s appearance in court, noting that “this is a criminal trial, not a public relation a campaign.”
The government continues:
Even if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Court’s November 8 Order if it had been published. Because Manafort has now taken actions that reflect an intention to violate or circumvent the Court’s existing Orders, at a time one would expect particularly scrupulous adherence, the government submits that the proposed bail package is insufficient reasonably to assure his appearance as required.
There you go. Sorry, Paul.
Full filing below