Attorneys for former Trump campaign president Paul Manafort pressed on Monday with his campaign to eliminate key evidence against his client, asking a federal judge to declare that an order used to search the Manafort condominium in Alexandria, Virginia, last July was invalid because of its captivating nature.
Manafort The defense team said that the fact that modern communications are stored in computers exacerbated the excessive scope of the search warrant issued by US magistrate judge Theresa Buchanan at the request of prosecutors working for the Special Council Robert Mueller
The story continues below
Once inside, the agents confiscated or took pictures of each electronic device and home storage device, "defense attorneys Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle complained in their motion. Monday night "The Fourth Amendment does not allow the order issued in this case, which was essentially a general guarantee for each and every one" financial documents and electronic devices. "
The Manafort defense team said that the only significant restriction on the order was a limitation to the records from 2006. The elastic language in the order also failed, including a provision that allows agents confiscate evidence about Manafort's "state of mind" with respect to a series of crimes the FBI was investigating.
"An order ordering agents to take all the evidence of the" state of mind " the subject does not at all restrict the agent's discretion, "the defense attorneys wrote." While the seizure of agents naturally seeks evidence of the subject's guilt, the function of the order is to limit its discretion to determine what constitutes such evidence. This order did no such thing. "
The order does not provide surprising revelations about Mueller's investigation, but it does confirm some suspicious or long-reported facts about the probe The order shows that in addition to the charges that Manafort faces for bank and tax fraud, as well as for money laundering and for not registering as a foreign agent in relation to its work related to Ukraine, the investigators were examining accusations of illegal foreign contributions to US political campaigns …
The search warrant issued last year also provides incontrovertible evidence that Mueller is investigating the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 in which Trump campaign officials expected to receive damaging information about the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
seize the house of Manafort included "communications, records, documents and other files that involved anyone attending the meeting on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower, as well as Aras and Amin Agalarov." Literally read, that provision gave the FBI the go-ahead to take any email or information that Manafort had or regarding Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner and Trump's son, Donald Jr., who attended the meeting.
While it was reported that FBI agents chose the lock to enter the Manafort condominium in a luxurious building overlooking the Potomac River, there is no indication of such tactics in the documents made public with the defense motion on Monday. The order says that the FBI was approved to carry out the search at any time between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. They reported that they entered just after 6 a.m.
The court's presentation also confirms the identities of some of the vendors who according to Manafort's reports were patronizing, as they spent chunks of $ 30 million prosecutors claiming to have washed their work related to Ukraine. The Manafort store allegedly dropped almost $ 1 million in oriental rugs: J & J Oriental Rug Gallery on King Street. Roughly half of the $ 1.4 million that Manafort allegedly spent on clothes was distributed at two stores: House of Bijan in Beverly Hills and Alan Couture in New York.
The new documents also indicate that suspicions about Manafort reached a high level in some financial quarters long before the Trump campaign in 2016. Two years before, the "money laundering" concerns led the First Republic Bank of Chicago to close accounts linked to Manafort.
While they were preparing to search for the Manafort home last July, the researchers also spent at least a month reading the outside of their mail through the so-called "mail cover" obtained from the Postal Service. That helped the FBI determine which banks sent statements to Manafort.
On Friday, the Manafort lawyers filed a similar motion to suppress the evidence seized in May from a storage locker a couple of miles from the Manafort house.
Both motions were addressed to US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who oversees the accusation against Washington that accuses Manafort of money laundering and acts as an unregistered foreign agent. She has a trial in that case for September 17.
A federal judge in Alexandria, T.S. Ellis III is overseeing a separate indictment accusing Manafort of bank fraud, tax evasion and failure to report bank accounts abroad. It is expected that the Manafort defense team will present parallel suppression motions in that case. The trial for those charges is set for July 10.