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"I have no idea if Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange".

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.

Sources close to WikiLeaks say the case may not be related to the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election but add that they do not know what the charges concern.

In a recent dramatic turn, Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mueller when testifying.

Stone, who reportedly recommended Trump hire Manafort and tweeted out cryptic notes during the lead up to the election, has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said publicly he had no knowledge of where the Democratic emails came from. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly.

Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 amid fears he could be prosecuted for Wikileaks' previous revelations of United States national security secrets. "Sources in Ecuador, however, say Manafort was not logged", The Guardian reports.

The Guardian report, which was based on unnamed sources, claimed that Manafort had met Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

"WikiLeaks is willing to bet The Guardian a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange", the account continued.

Manafort has a history of lying in this case and was convicted of lying to banks and the government.

The Special Counsel is expected to finalize a report in the coming months on the findings of his 18-month probe into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Manafort, meanwhile, has violated the plea agreement he negotiated with prosecutors after that conviction in August, according to court documents filed on Monday.

The Guardian has not responded to Law&Crime's multiple requests for comment.

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

In a federal court on Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, Judge Leonie Brinkema called it "an interesting case, to say the least", according to U.S. media.

It says the government considered alternatives to sealing, but that any procedure "short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged".

Assange runs the WikiLeaks group, which the USA intelligence community has concluded acted as an arm of Russian intelligence agencies working to help elect Trump in 2016 at the direction of that country's authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin.