Convicted felon Paul Manafort, a day after being accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of lying repeatedly to FBI investigators, claims he has never met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
In the article itself, Manafort denied that he met with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, saying that such a claim was “100 percent false.”
Since the story’s publication, Manafort has seen fit to issue a more extensive response. He said that The Guardian, which has been criticized for stealth editing the story and has not yet responded to a request for comment, published a “deliberately libelous” article.
A spokesman for Manafort’s provided the following statement to Law&Crime:
This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.
Well, then. That’s a lot of denials, plus a threat to take legal action.
Law&Crime has reached out to The Guardian for a response.
Update: The Guardian has responded with a statement.
“This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place,” a Guardian spokesperson told Law&Crime. “We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.”
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]