WASHINGTON (AP) – In an attempt to burnish his public image and leave no fingerprints behind, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort recently enlisted a longtime colleague “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence to help him ghostwrite an op-ed, prosecutors said Monday.
Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller say in court papers that they believe the opinion piece — written while Manafort is on house arrest facing several felonies — would have violated a judge’s order that bars him from trying his case in the press.
They are now pushing for Manafort to remain confined to his home on GPS monitoring for the time being.
According to the court papers, Manafort and the colleague sought to publish the op-ed to influence public opinion about his political consulting in Ukraine, work at the heart of the criminal case against him. The op-ed was being drafted as late as last week.
Prosecutors did not name Manafort’s colleague, who is currently based in Russia, or provide details of how they determined the person had ties to a spy agency. Reached Monday, a spokesman for Manafort declined comment.