Manafort Asks Judge To Suppress Evidence Seized From His Home

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his wife Kathleen arrive at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty last year to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Lawyers for Paul Manafort on Monday asked the federal judge overseeing Manafort’s Washington, D.C. indictment to suppress evidence special counsel Robert Mueller’s team obtained by carrying out a search warrant in Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia, home.

Manafort’s lawyers argued that the warrant allowing investigators to “indiscriminately” seize all financial documents and electronic devices from 2006 on was overly broad. In the filing, lawyers for Manafort argued that the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment requires search warrants to be more specific than the one use by Mueller’s team. They also argue that investigators took electronic devices that were beyond the scope of the warrant, such as an iPod.

The warrant attached to Manafort’s filing shows that investigators sought a wide range of financial records, correspondence, evidence of false statements, and electronics used to carry out the alleged offenses.

Investigators were looking for documents related to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting Manafort attended with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, which shows Mueller’s team is investigating that meeting. They were also looking for evidence of campaign contributions from foreign nationals, a crime Manafort has not been charged with. These details indicate that investigators were not only looking into Manafort’s Ukraine work, but his time on the Trump campaign.

The application for the warrant reveals new details about a former associate of Manafort’s who told the FBI about documents in Manafort’s possession. This is the second known Manafort associate to cooperate with investigators — Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy, reached a plea deal with Mueller’s team earlier this year and is cooperating with investigators. This individual spoke with investigators in July 2017 shortly after making several visits to Manafort’s residence. The FBI raided Manafort’s home less than 10 days after speaking to the former employees about the documents.

Filings submitted over the weekend revealed that one of Manafort’s former employees told FBI investigators about the storage unit and let them into Manafort’s storage unit to view the labels on boxes of documents. Monday night’s filing shows that this former employee also told investigators that Manafort used his home as an office and kept records there, and that he specifically saw Federal Election Commission documents in Manafort’s residence.

The warrant and application also reveals some of the stores at which Manafort spent millions on luxury goods. The original indictment against Manafort alleged that he spent $1.3 million at clothing stores in Beverly Hills and New York and more than $1 million on antique rugs. According to the warrant and the application for a warrant, Manafort shopped at J & J Oriental Rugs in Alexandria, where he spent $360,000. He also shopped at House of Bijan in Beverly Hills and Alan Couture in Manhattan, and he spent $21,000 on a watch, according to the filings.

Manafort faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and failure to disclose foreign lobbying in an indictment brought against him in Washington, D.C. The charges stem from Manafort’s lobbying work for a Ukrainian political party. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well as to the charges in a separate Virginia indictment stemming from the same work.

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