American News Update

News

Will Paul Manafort Escape Prosecution Thanks to FBI Mistake?

Will Paul Manafort Escape Prosecution Thanks to FBI Mistake?
November 06
14:51 2017

Paul Manafort is in the hot seat due to the recent indictment by the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but are you aware of the history that led up to his indictment and why he may end up walking away from the charges?

Manafort had served as a lobbyist for a number of foreign leaders including Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Viktor Yanukovych of the Ukraine, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Jonas Savimbi, the guerilla leader in Angola, so his dealings with foreign persons was well known.

In March 2016, lobbyist, political consultant and attorney Paul Manafort became part of the Trump presidential campaign. In June 2016, Manafort was named campaign manager. In August 2016, it was revealed that Manafort had not disclosed his former business dealings with Russian officials and was forced to resign from the Trump campaign.

In May 2017, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named as Special Counsel to investigate the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and election interference. The appointment was made by the Justice Department. One of the first targets that Mueller went after was Paul Manafort.

On June 26, 2017, the FBI invaded Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia. They had a search warrant with which they collected and seized many boxes of documents and materials.

On Monday, October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort was indicted by Robert Mueller’s grand jury on charges of not only lying to the FBI, but for money laundering and a number of other financially related crimes. There was a total of 12 counts filed against Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates. They are:

“Conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading statements related to the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.”

It seems the June 2017 FBI search and seizure may just be the ticket that could allow Manafort and Gates to walk on most of the charges they are facing.

According to one legal source:

“The feds alleged he illegally funneled millions of dollars of payments into offshore bank accounts in order to avoid detection by U.S. authorities as it related to his work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. While the indictment containing Manafort’s alleged criminal activities is very detailed, and well-documented, there is one area that could hurt Mueller’s investigation. Mueller’s team may have obtained evidence in the raid of Paul Manafort’s home that was not covered by the search warrant. That could be problematic.”

In order to obtain a search warrant, investigators have to convince a judge, who signs the warrant, that there is probable cause that a crime had been committed. Attached to the warrant, was an affidavit that specified what items could be searched and seized. When the FBI served the warrant on Manafort’s home, they seized items not on the list and that were protected by attorney-client privilege. When Manafort’s attorneys complained about the attorney-client material, it was returned. However, as pointed out by the legal site:

“As the article points out, this certainly brings up concerns as to what exactly was seized, what investigators saw, and who handled the material. You can’t ‘unsee’ evidence once you saw it.”

Thus, the indictments may be in serious jeopardy that could allow the two men to escape criminal prosecution, as suggested by the same legal site:

“In 2005, Eric D. McArthur, who coincidentally now serves as Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, authored an article about the Fourth Amendment implications if investigators collect attorney-client privileged information. He wrote:”

“[T]he Fourth Amendment is violated when the government purposely, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently searches privileged attorney-client communications. In other words, the Fourth Amendment is violated whenever law enforcement officials have reason to believe that a search or seizure is likely to expose them to privileged attorney-client communications and fail to take reasonable steps to minimize their exposure.”

This is what happened in a recent case involving Benjamin Wey, a Wall Street financier. Like Manafort, those who served the search warrant on Wey, seized information that was protected under attorney-client privilege. A federal court judge threw out the seized evidence because it was not included in the search warrant

Based on this precedent, one would think that the same thing will happen with Manafort, raising the question if the evidence used to indict Manafort will likewise be thrown out?

Yet, he may not walk free due to a recent Supreme Court case in which they ruled that attorney-client privileged information that was improperly seized was done so accidentally, and therefore, was deemed admissible.

President Donald Trump has vowed not to get involved, so Manafort’s hope of walking away rests on what happens with the evidence seized and used to indict him. If deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment, he walks, but if deemed accidentally seized and admissible, then chances are he’s heading to prison.

 

Share

About Author

American News Update

American News Update

Related Articles