Mueller Wastes No Time Setting Manafort Court Date — Lawyer Plots Challenge Against Evidence Obtained By Search Warrant
According to ABC News, the court date of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business partner Rick Gates is set for May 7, 2018. News of the court date comes amid reports detailing how Manafort’s attorney aims to challenge evidence against his client obtained using search warrants.
“Trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates to begin on May 7, 2018, judge says,” reports ABC News.
JUST IN: Trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates to begin on May 7, 2018, judge says. pic.twitter.com/2lBjio0BZE
— ABC News (@ABC) November 3, 2017
The Hill reports:
Attorneys representing Manafort filed a response to a judge’s order to inform the court about possible pretrial motions, saying that they will challenge evidence that was “improperly” obtained “by search warrant, subpoena, or otherwise.” FBI agents conducted a no-knock raid of Manafort’s home in July, during which prosecutors first told the former Trump campaign chief to expect an indictment. That indictment was handed down Monday, when Manafort was charged with tax fraud and money laundering.
With little oversight, Mueller has amassed massive amounts of information detailing the Trump Organization’s business dealings. The American people are demanding to know what Mueller intends to do with such information, especially since it has nothing to do with Russia or the 2016 presidential race, nor does Manafort’s alleged crimes — and President Trump concurs.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????,” tweeted President Trump.
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
As Mueller’s witch hunt into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election rolls on, questions have emerged surrounding Manafort’s treatment by federal authorities.
One aspect of the Manafort case which has largely gone unreported is whether or not the former Trump official’s constitutional rights were violated. Rachel Stockman, a Yale Law School educated journalist for LawNewz believes there is strong evidence suggesting Mueller’s team violated Manafort’s constitutional rights.
In a surprise raid on July 26th, FBI agents busted into Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia to collect documents and other materials related to the FBI probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. At the time, Manafort’s attorney raised concerns about how the raid was conducted. In order for the feds to obtain a warrant, a federal judge would have to determine that probable cause existed that a crime was committed. As part of the warrant, investigators attached an affidavit which contained a list of items that FBI agents hoped to collect. That’s where the trouble appears to be in Manafort’s case.
As a legal website, we were immediately drawn to the revelation that evidence was collected that may not have been covered by the warrant. That’s a serious development, and one that Manafort’s attorneys will no doubt seize upon. But, is it necessarily illegal? Did the agents do anything wrong? It’s not clear. It certainly could raise some serious constitutional issues that could taint the investigation.
“If they (investigators) had any kind of heads up, and they went beyond the scope of the warrant, that could be a problem,” Former federal prosecutor Henry Hockeimer, told LawNewz.
“Generally if agents seize privileged materials, (Manafort) could argue the entire search was tainted, they went beyond the scope of the warrant, a defense attorney could make some hay out of this,” Hockeimer added.
Over the summer, the Washington Post reported the FBI raided former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Alexandria home late last month. A New York Times report alleges the FBI seized “tax documents and foreign banking records.”