On Thursday, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled against a motion by Paul Manafort’s lawyers to suppress key evidence in his upcoming D.C. trial set to begin on September 17.
They argued that when the FBI entered the storage unit and seized materials without a search warrant they violated Manafort’s constitutional rights.
FBI agents were given permission to enter the unit, owned by Manafort’s company, by an employee who unlocked the door for them and were given written consent to enter the unit by the employee. In the application for a warrant, the agents described the items found that might be relevant to the case: a metal filing cabinet and 21 bankers boxes. The items were not searched until the warrant was issued.
The judge denied Manafort’s motion in a 36-page opinion, siding with Special Counsel Mueller, Politico reports.
“Law enforcement agents do not need a warrant to enter a location if they have voluntary consent, and they do not need to have the consent of the person under investigation if they receive permission from a third party who has, or who reasonably appears to have, common authority over the place to be searched,” she wrote in her 36-page opinion. “Therefore, the preliminary inspection of the unit falls within the consent exception to the warrant requirement.”
Jackson’s ruling Thursday also said the FBI did not violate Manafort’s Fourth Amendment rights because the agent submitted an affidavit explaining the reasons “to believe that Manafort had been engaged in criminal activity in the conduct of his business, and that his business records had been moved to, and remained in, the locker rented for that purpose.”
She also said the warrant was not overbroad since it called for records related to specific offenses.
Jackson’s ruling applies only to his Washington trial. A similar motion awaits a ruling ahead of his trial in Virginia scheduled for July 25.
Today, Judge Berman has sided again with Special Counsel Mueller. Reuters reports Berman has rejected Manafort’s request to dismiss a money laundering charge and to prevent asset forfeiture.
A federal judge on Friday dealt another blow to U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, refusing to dismiss a money laundering charge brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The judge also rejected a bid by Manafort’s lawyers to prevent asset forfeiture based on the money laundering charge.
“These laws are not just about paperwork; their object is to ensure that no person acts to advance the interests of a foreign government or principal within the United States unless the public has been properly notified of his or her allegiance,” the judge wrote.
⊕ In a separate motion on Thursday, Judge Jackson gave three directives for Manafort’s confinement.
- He must be confined “to the extent practicable” apart from other inmates awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending an appeal
- He must have a “reasonable opportunity” to meet in private with his attorneys
- He must be brought to the court for any proceedings if summoned by the judge or a Mueller attorney.
⊕ Manafort was indicted in Washington D.C. in October and faces charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent. In Virginia, he has been charged with tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts. He has plead not guilty to all charges.