by Joe Simonson
WikiLeaks announced Thursday that the whistleblower organization will bring legal action against The Guardian after the British paper published a story accusing Paul Manafort and Julian Assange of meeting several times from 2013 to 2015.
On Tuesday afternoon, WikiLeaks tweeted out a link to a GoFundMe account that would accept donations for legal aid. The organization accused The Guardian of “publishing [an] entirely fabricated story.”
The campaign has a goal of $300,000 and has raised $26,289 as of Wednesday morning.
“These claims are completely false and the story has been fabricated. But it has gone viral, repeated uncritically by media outlets around the world,” The GoFundMe page says.
Paul Manafort, who once briefly led President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, denies the existence of such meetings with Assange, who currently lives at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“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,” a representative for Manafort told the press. 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.”
The Guardian has since made several changes to its original report, adding “Sources say” to its headline “Manafort held secret talks with Assange.”
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