The prosecutors say that Manafort’s ghostwriting violates a gag order imposed by US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson that the parties “not try the case in the press.” They say that the “editorial clearly was undertaken to influence the public’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 another’s name).”
A Manafort spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If accurate, the allegations suggest an extraordinarily foolish move by Manafort, who has previously been surveilled by federal agents and should know his communications are likely to be monitored.
In their motion, prosecutors for the special counsel request that Judge Berman reject a recent preliminary bail agreement and impose strict new conditions on Manafort. “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,” they wrote. Prosecutors seek a bail package now including a clause that allows them to seize Manafort’s assets if he violates any part of the agreement, and that he submit to full time GPS monitoring.