Federal charges against Julian Assange to remain sealed

28 November, 2018, 03:28 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Report: Paul Manafort Met With Julian Assange Months Before WikiLeaks Published DNC Emails

Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Newscom Dominic Lipinski/ZUMA Press/NewscomFormer Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange multiple times between 2013 and 2016, according to The Guardian. "I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him", Manafort said in the statement.

The Trump campaign announced Manafort's hire on March 29, 2016, and he served as the convention manager tasked with lining up delegates for the Republican National Convention.

Prosecutors said they plan to file a report before sentencing laying out the alleged crimes Manafort committed after pleading guilty in September.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, declined to discuss the report during Tuesday's press briefing, though she reiterated the president was not involved in any "wrongdoing" or "collusion".

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WikiLeaks, meanwhile, quickly denied the Guardian's report, indicating Manafort never met with Assange.

While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified United States military and diplomatic cables.

A decision whether to unseal US government charges against Julian Assange was delayed for a week by Judge Leonie Brinkema in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday. The Guardian said Manafort returned there in 2015 and 2016 and said its sources had "tentatively dated" the final visit to March.

Sources told the Guardian that Manafort, who was convicted in August of eight counts stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation inquiry, met with Assange on at least three occasions: in 2013, in 2015 and at the meeting in early 2016.

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Trump has railed against the special counsel probe since Mueller's appointment a year ago, often calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and a "hoax".

Separately, US prosecutors acknowledged to a judge that they erred when they mistakenly referenced criminal charges against Assange in an unrelated case.

On Monday, the Mueller team said the former aide had breached his plea deal by repeatedly lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And while some commentators have described the cancelation of the plea bargain as a setback for Mueller, former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman told MSNBC's Ari Berman that he doesn't see it that way - in fact, according to Ackerman, it is evidence that Mueller already has a strong enough hand to complete his prosecution without Manafort's help. Their last encounter, the paper reported, occurred just a few months before WikiLeaks released thousands of damaging Democratic Party emails.

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"London is the most watched city in the western world and if Manafort was there, there is nearly certainly CCTV camera footage of that happening and of course Paul Manafort's travel records of him coming in and out of London as well", he said.

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