National Security

Judge rejects Manafort motion to suppress evidence seized from residence

A federal judge in Washington D.C. on Wednesday rejected a motion from attorneys representing former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to suppress evidence gathered by investigators at his Alexandria, Virginia residence during an FBI raid last year.

In a court filing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that the government's search and seizure of all electronic devices at Manafort's residence did not violate the Fourth Amendment restrictions against improper searches, ruling that the government was not restricted to devices it alleged were used in a crime.

Jackson wrote in her ruling that the search warrant utilized by investigators working with Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation was "sufficiently particularized and not overbroad," as the warrant allows agents to collect any devices containing "records related to" charges faced by Manafort.

In addition, Jackson wrote that Manafort's argument that investigators failed to establish probable cause to believe that devices used in alleged crimes could be found at the residence was invalid because "it was not necessary for the agent to allege that the electronic devices had themselves been used in the commission of the offense."

"[I]t also authorized the search of electronic devices for relevant records that might be stored on them," she wrote. "It was sufficient...to believe that evidence related to the crimes listed on the warrant would be stored on devices in the home."

The court's decision is the second such defeat for Manafort in as many weeks after the former Trump aide lost a second bid in Virginia last week to suppress evidence gathered in a storage unit, Investigators had gained access to the unit through an employee.

Manafort remains in jail ahead of his Virginia trial, scheduled for later this month, and a trial in Washington which is set for September. He is charged with a slew of financial crimes related to his lobbying work for pro-Russian political groups in Ukraine prior to the 2016 election, and has pleaded not guilty.

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