Manafort claims alleged government leaks to news media violate his fair trial rights

PHOTO: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, leaves a U.S. District Court after attending a motions hearing in Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018.PlayCarlos Barria/Reuters
WATCH Paul Manafort pleads not guilty on fraud charges

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, wants a court hearing and investigation into what he claims are government leaks to news media that he says violated his right to a fair trial.

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In a filing late Monday night, attorneys for Manafort accused "current and former government officials" of leaking "confidential and ostensibly classified information to multiple media sources in an effort to substantially prejudice and adversely impact Mr. Manafort."

"The natural implication... is that these government leaks were intentionally designed to create a false narrative" tying Manafort to the Russian government "despite the lack of any such evidence," the filing said.

Manafort's lawyers asked a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia for a hearing "to seek legal redress for all violations of his constitutional rights."

Manafort, 69, has been indicted in two criminal cases – one in Virginia's Eastern District and another in Washington, D.C. -- by special counsel Robert Mueller's team on charges including money laundering and tax evasion.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Attorneys for Manafort asserted that government and law enforcement officials – not fearing any legal retribution – leaked false information, knowing that Manafort had no way to correct the record.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort departs federal court in Washington D.C., Dec. 11, 2017. Robert Mueller departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election, June 21, 2017.AP
Paul Manafort departs federal court in Washington D.C., Dec. 11, 2017. Robert Mueller departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election, June 21, 2017.

"An investigation could be done expeditiously," Manafort's attorneys argued, adding that, "although the exact persons are not yet known, they must be identified."

Manafort's case in Virginia is scheduled to go to trial in July and he is slated to appear in court on Friday for a motions hearing in that case.

Manafort's longtime associate, Rick Gates, agreed to a plea deal with the special counsel earlier this year and is cooperating with his investigation. Manafort and Gates were originally charged together last fall – the first charges filed in the special counsel's probe into alleged Russia meddling during the 2016 presidential elections.

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