Judge refuses to toss money laundering charge against Manafort, upholds search of storage unit

- Judge refuses to toss money laundering charge against Manafort, upholds search of storage unit

Criminal Justice

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has refused to dismiss a money laundering charge against Paul Manafort and refused to exclude evidence seized from his storage unit.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled against Manafort, who is President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, in separate opinions.

Jackson refused to dismiss the money laundering claim in a Friday opinion, report Politico and Bloomberg News. Manafort is charged with conspiring to launder money to promote violation of the law that requires lobbyists for foreign entities to register with the U.S. government.

Manafort had claimed he couldn’t be charged with money laundering because it’s not against the law to act as a foreign agent. The law only criminalizes failure to register, he argued. Jackson disagreed. It is a crime to act as a foreign agent after failing to register, she said.

In a decision Thursday, Jackson refused to toss the evidence taken from the storage locker in Alexandria, Virginia, report Courthouse News Service and Politico.

A former employee of Manafort’s had allowed the government to access the storage unit a day before the FBI used a search warrant to search for business records. The former employee had a key and had signed the lease for the unit.

Jackson said the FBI’s initial inspection of the storage unit was allowed under the consent exception to the warrant requirement. As a result, there was no taint to the second search in which records were seized, she said. The FBI had described the bankers’ boxes and filing cabinet observed in the unit in the warrant application.

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Even if the initial inspection was unlawful, the search warrant was valid and the seizure of the business records was lawful, Jackson said.


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Author: Edward Lott

Edward Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A. is president and managing partner of Allentown-based ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, Inc., a local search and digital marketing agency that offers clients lead generation, local seo and Google Maps Domination. Ed has been a digital entrepreneur since 1994, having discovered very early the opportunities the Internet offered. After having spent over two decades helping attorneys grow their practice, Ed joined the staff of ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing as President and Managing Partner, where he is expanding the agency’s cutting-edge services to the legal market. A true marketing futurist, Ed's vast experience working directly with attorneys has given him a unique perspective on law firm marketing not found in many other digital marketing agencies. Ed has reshaped the offerings of ForLawFirmsOnly to focus on growing law firms through a holistic approach to digital marketing evident in the reformulated lead generation processes now in place. Want to learn more about ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, their lead generation programs, or just talk to Ed about his visions for helping law firms grow? Call him at 855-943-8736.

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