Lawyers for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort have told a federal court that special counsel Robert Mueller disclosed investigators have no evidence Russian contacts and asked for a court hearing on news leaks about their client.
Manafort's lawyers, Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle, made the request in a filing Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, The Daily Caller reports.
Manafort, 69, who served the Trump campaign from June to August 2016, has been indicted on charges of money laundering and bank fraud.
"By their actions, it is self-evident that the objective of these government sources was to create unfair prejudice against Mr. Manafort and thereby deprive him of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights," Downing and Zehnle wrote.
The court filing included a list of seven news reports about the Manafort investigation that rely on U.S. government sources, The Daily Caller reports.
"The government-sourced leaks concerning surveillance of Mr. Manafort with foreign individuals is particularly troubling," they said.
The attorneys also wrote that they had filed "multiple" requests with Mueller's investigators for evidence of any contact between Manafort and Russia.
But Mueller's office "has not produced any materials to the defense — no tapes, notes, transcripts or other material evidencing surveillance or intercepts of communications between Mr. Manafort and Russian intelligence officials, Russian government officials (or any other foreign officials)," they said.
"The Office of Special Counsel has advised there are no materials responsive to Mr. Manafort’s requests."
Therefore, "the natural implication of this is that these government leaks were intentionally designed to create a false narrative in order to garner support for the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate Mr. Manafort for purportedly coordinating with Russian intelligence-government officials despite the lack of any such evidence," Downing and Zehnle contended.
"If this proves to be true," the lawyers argued, "then Mr. Manafort should not have been referred to the special counsel for investigation of coordination with the Russian government, nor for any other matters."
Mueller's office declined to comment on the Manafort filing, The Daily Caller reports.
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