(National Sentinel) Special Counsel: Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lashed out against special counsel Robert Mueller, claiming the case against him is “embellished.”
In court papers filed Thursday, lawyers for Manafort defended him as a “successful, international political consultant” who by nature of his work on behalf of foreign political parties became involved in international financial transactions.
Also, the lawyers said that Manafort, who led President Donald J. Trump’s campaign for a number of months in 2016, did not do anything wrong and was no flight risk.
Per The Associated Press:
The filing was the first volley from Manafort’s defense team, which seeks to undermine a 12-count indictment against him and longtime business associate Rick Gates. Mueller announced the indictment Monday, charging the men with money laundering and other financial crimes related to their political consulting work for Ukraine’s former ruling party.
They were placed on house arrest during a court appearance earlier this week, released on multimillion-dollar bonds. And on Thursday, both men appeared in federal court in Washington, where a judge ruled that they would remain on home confinement and electronic monitoring at least through the weekend.
Attorneys for Manafort, 68, and Gates, 45, are asking U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to release them while they await trial, saying the bonds are enough to ensure they show up for court. The judge said she would take up the matter again at a hearing Monday.
Prosecutors noted that Manafort has three passports, and that he has provided widely differing accounts of his assets in the past few years. They also noted that he purchased a cell phone using an alias in March, and that he used the phone when he traveled to China, Mexico and Ecuador.
Manafort’s attorneys countered that none of those things were out of the ordinary for international consultants like Manafort, arguing, in part, that though “it may be surprising to some, it is perfectly permissible to have more than one U.S. passport.”
His lawyers also noted that their client wasn’t trying to hide his assets, because payments from foreign political entities ultimately wound up in his accounts in the U.S.
“Obviously, international funds entering the U.S. banking system, or going to U.S. vendors, are traceable and subject to U.S. process,” attorney Kevin Downing said. “It goes without saying that in an international scheme to conceal assets, individuals generally move them offshore, not to the United States.”
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