Manafort met Julian Assange months before Clinton email leak

WikiLeaks said on Twitter that it was willing "to bet. a million dollars and the editor's head" that the story was wrong and the anti-secrecy group said it was launching a legal defense fund.

There was no detail on what might have been discussed.

USA prosecutors said this week that Manafort, a lawyer and political lobbyist, had breached the terms of a plea bargain by lying "on a variety of subject matters" to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team, who are investigating allegations that...

A decision whether to unseal USA 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 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argued that the inadvertent disclosure by prosecutors about charges against Assange obliterates the usual need for secrecy.

Brinkema added that "there are sound reasons why" criminal complaints and arrest warrants are typically under seal until a suspect is arrested - such as using the element of surprise to ensure the safety of arresting officers or agents - which she called a "legitimate basis".

Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy since seeking political asylum in 2012. The government also emphasized that the mistaken reference to charges isn't proof Assange is actually charged.

But prosecutors and the judge noted that United States charges are never ordinarily released until after an arrest.

But the vagueness of the sourcing left many journalists extremely wary of running with such a politically charged story without corroboration beyond an unnamed but supposedly "well-placed" source, an unverified intelligence document, and other anonymous officials.

She deferred ruling on the request to give Townsend a few days to research the issue.

There may be sealed charges against Assange in the Alexandria, Va., federal district court where Manafort was convicted earlier this year, according to some suggestions in documents there, but the Justice Department has remained silent.

The Guardian cited two unidentified sources as saying Manafort first met Assange at the embassy in 2013, a year after Assange took refuge there to avoid being extradited to Sweden over sex crime allegations.

"This is an interesting case, to say the least", Brinkema said.

Among the changes they noted was the "hermit-like" appearance of Assange and the absence of the cat, which had been his only permanent companion within the embassy walls. It's unclear what the campaign chairman and the WikiLeaks chief discussed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to the Guardian, but the episode could be a key link for investigators probing possible conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin to sway the 2016 us presidential election in Trump's favor.

  • Tracy Klein