Manafort reportedly met with Julian Assange when he joined Trump campaign

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Although US District Judge Leonie Brinkema made no immediate decision during the Tuesday court hearing to confirm or deny the existence of a sealed criminal case against Assange, reports suggest that the official appeared to favor the prosecution in not unsealing said documents.

Paul Manafort secretly met with Julian Assange three times, including once in the spring of 2016 - months before WikiLeaks released Democratic emails stolen by Russian Federation, according to a report published by the Guardian on Tuesday.

The Guardian based its report on information from unnamed sources and an internal document from an Ecuadorian intelligence agency.

The meeting lasted about 40 minutes, according to the Guardian.

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"Remember this day when the Guardian permitted a serial fabricator to totally destroy the paper's reputation", WikiLeaks tweeted.

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for the past six years to avoid sexual assault charges in Sweden.

United States 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...

Manafort, 69, held talks with Assange, whose group leaked thousands of emails stolen by Russian hackers from Hillary Clinton's campaign, in 2013, 2015 and in March 2016, The Guardian reported, citing sources. The Associated Press reported August 18, 2016, that Manafort had lobbied in the US on behalf of politicians in Ukraine without disclosing to the USA government that he was working as a foreign agent.

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Manafort himself released a statement later Tuesday calling the article "libelous" and claiming he was thinking of suing The Guardian. His lawyers declined to answer the Guardian's questions about the visits. Baldwin wanted to know whether the developments with Manafort meant prosecutors could prove something like the allegations revealed by the Guardian. The list, according to the newspaper, also mentions "Russians".

Trump talked up the emails and their contents each day at his campaign events - even though he began receiving intelligence briefings two months earlier that would have told him of the Russian involvement, and despite an October 7, 2016, public statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security that described WikiLeaks as a participant in the "Russian-directed efforts".

Manafort has been at the heart of several unresolved threads of the Robert Mueller investigation.

Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering on September 14, nearly a year after he was first charged and following his conviction by a jury in a separate but related case on eight tax and banking crimes.

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