WASHINGTON (AP) - While facing several felony charges, Donald Trumpâ€™s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been working on an op-ed essay with a longtime colleague â€śassessed to have tiesâ€ť to a Russian intelligence service, according to court papers filed Monday by prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller.
In a court filing, prosecutors say Manafort - a New Britain, Connecticut native - and the colleague sought to publish the op-ed under someone elseâ€™s name and intended it to influence public opinion about his work in Ukraine. The op-ed was being drafted as late as last week, with Manafort currently under house arrest. Prosecutors did not name the colleague but noted the person is based in Russia.
Manafort is currently facing several felony charges involving allegations of money laundering and other financial crimes related to his political consulting work in Ukraine. He has been confined to his home while he works out a bond arrangement with the government.
Manafort has denied any wrongdoing related to his work in Ukraine. A spokesman for Manafort declined comment on the op-ed described by prosecutors.
In the court filing, prosecutors say the op-ed appeared to violate an admonishment from the judge last month to refrain from public statements.
â€śEven if the ghostwritten op-ed were entirely accurate, fair, and balanced, it would be a violation of this Courtâ€™s November 8 Order if it had been published,â€ť the prosecutors wrote. â€śThe editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the publicâ€™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 anotherâ€™s name).â€ť
They added, â€śIt compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts.â€ť
Prosecutors said they discovered the efforts to publish the op-ed last Thursday and alerted Manafortâ€™s attorney, who assured prosecutors that â€śsteps would be taken to make sure it was it was no longer going to be published.â€ť