Mueller Asks Judge to Deny Manafort Bid to Escape House Arrest

(CN) – Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday asked a federal judge to deny Paul Manafort’s request to release him from house arrest, citing a draft of an op-ed the former Trump campaign manager crafted as a ghostwriter for an associate tied to Russian intelligence.

In a filing signed by Andrew Weissmann of the special prosecutor’s office, Mueller and his team say the request should be denied because the op-ed, if it had been published, would have violated a court order not to discuss the case publicly.

“As late as November 30, 2017, Manafort and a colleague were ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine,” the court filing says. “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.

The filing continues: “As the Court is aware, at the first appearance before this Court with Manafort present, the Court admonished all of the parties not to try the case in the press. … Even if the ghostwritten 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.”

Manafort has been subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring since he was charged with conspiracy and money laundering in connection with Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

His appeal to the judge came after it had appeared he made an $11 million bail deal with Mueller’s team last week.

Both Manafort and his associate Richard Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges from Mueller’s probe after the 31-page indictment was unsealed.

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