Did Trump campaign manager Manafort work for Russian billionaire to help Putin? AP said so, now sued for libel - iMediaEthics

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The Associated Press’s reporting on Russian aluminum billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort, Pres. Trump’s former campaign manager, is now subject of a libel lawsuit.

Deripaska, the CEO of United Company RUSAL, claims he was libeled by the Associated Press’s March 22 story,  “AP Exclusive: Before Trump job, Manafort worked to aid Putin.” In the story, the AP reported that Manafort “secretly worked” for Deripaska and was paid $10 million a year to promote Russian president Vladimir Putin’s government.

Politico reported on the lawsuit May 15, uploading a copy of the claim, which was filed in Washington D.C.

iMediaEthics contacted the AP to ask what reasons it listed for rejecting the correction request. The AP provided a statement from its general counsel Karen Kaiser reading, “The Associated Press stands by its story. We will defend the lawsuit vigorously.”

Deripaska’s lawsuit states that he unsuccessfully sought a retraction and correction two weeks after publication.

“The requested retraction would have clarified that the AP is aware of no evidence, of any kind, to suggest that Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort had a contractual relationship to advance the interests of the Russian government or Mr. Putin, and that the relationship between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort predated all of the alleged contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign by many years,” the lawsuit reads.

Deripaska’s lawsuit alleges:

  • The AP “falsely accused” him “of involvement in criminal acts and other improprieties.”
  • The article falsely suggests Deripaska’s “commercial dealings from the period between 2005 and 2009 were somehow related to alleged criminal conduct and improprieties related to” Donald Trump and his presidential campaign
  • The article falsely links Manafort’s 2005 memo about working to advance the Putin Government to Manafort’s work with Deripaska, whereas Deripaska says he “never had any arrangement” for Manafort to promote the Russian government.
  • The article includes a misleading quote from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggesting the contract was currently ongoing and included “basically undermin[ing] democratic movements.”
  • The article suggests Deripaska stole assets from Ukraine or was involved in the Trump campaign.

iMediaEthics has written to Deripaska’s lawyers to ask if he was contacted before publication and given opportunity to respond to all allegations, or if they provided counter-evidence to the AP claims before or after publication.

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Did Trump campaign manager Manafort work for Russian billionaire to help Putin? AP said so, now sued for libel

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