Government lawyers told a federal judge Monday that Paul Manafort violated a gag order she issued last month.
In a filing Monday, lawyers for the special counsel’s office wrote Manafort has, as late as Nov. 30, been ghostwriting an op-ed with an unnamed Russian colleague “regarding his political work for Ukraine.” The colleague, the lawyers said, is “assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia issued an order Nov. 8 barring the parties and counsel in the case from making public statements that could affect Manafort’s trial.
The op-ed was never published, but government lawyers wrote the violation shows Manafort is untrustworthy. While the government previously agreed to bail conditions Manafort’s lawyers, Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle proposed last month, that position has changed.
“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.”
Manafort pleaded not guilty last month to several charges including money laundering and failure to report foreign lobbying. Jackson has already scolded Downing for making statements to the media outside the courthouse.
The filing said that Jackson should impose additional measures on Manafort than were mentioned in his proposal, including GPS monitoring and a “fully secured bond.” The government noted that the largest of the assets in Manafort’s proposed package, his Bridgehampton, New York, property, is already subject to forfeiture in his indictment.
“Because bail is substantially about trust—in particular, whether the court can trust that a defendant will abide by the combination of conditions designed to assure his appearance as required …—and because the newly discovered facts cast doubt on Manafort’s willingness to comply with this court’s orders, Manafort’s proposed bail package does not provide the reasonable assurance required by the Bail Reform Act,” they wrote.