WikiLeaks launches legal fund to sue Guardian for Manafort report

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WikiLeaks launched a crowdfunding campaign Tuesday in an effort to sue The Guardian for a report about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holding secret discussions.

“WikiLeaks launches legal fund to sue the Guardian for publishing entirely fabricated story … which spread all over the world today,” the organization tweeted. “It is time the Guardian paid a price for fabricating news.”

The tweet includes a link to the group’s GoFundMe campaign page, which features the headline, “help WikiLeaks sue Guardian over fabricated story.”

{mosads}The campaign raised just over $29,000 from 564 donors as of Wednesday afternoon. 

The Guardian reported Tuesday that Manafort spoke privately with Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, inside London’s Ecuadorian Embassy multiple times before the 2016 presidential election. 

The British newspaper said the talks occurred as early as 2013 and as late as spring of 2016, which was around the time Manafort joined Trump’s presidential campaign. 

Months after the meeting, WikiLeaks released a tranche of emails that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee by Russian intelligence officers. 

WikiLeaks has fiercely denied the details included in the report, saying that it is “willing to bet the Guardian a million dollars and its editor’s head that Manafort never met Assange.”

Manafort also denied meeting Assange, saying in a statement through his attorney that the “story is totally false and deliberately libelous.”

“I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him,” Manafort said, before adding that he is “considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.”

Manafort was said to be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia’s election interference.

His cooperation came in exchange for a plea deal that helped him avoid a second federal trial, but he now faces jail time for allegedly lying to prosecutors.

Manafort was convicted of eight counts of bank and tax fraud earlier this year. 

Tags GoFundMe Paul Manafort Robert Mueller The Guardian WikiLeaks
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