Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is offering to post $12.5 million-worth of assets — including his Trump Tower apartment — as part of a bail package to ensure that he appears for the trial he’s facing on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, Manafort’s defense team said Saturday.
Manafort’s lawyers identified three properties he is willing to pledge: the Trump Tower condo in Manhattan, a condo several miles to the south on Baxter Street in Chinatown and his primary residence in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. In a court filing, the veteran lobbyist also said several life insurance policies worth a total of $4.5 million could be posted, although they’re held by trusts or Manafort’s wife Kathleen.
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In exchange for pledging the properties, Manafort is seeking to be released from home confinement at his Alexandria, Va. condo and permitted to travel freely in Florida, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and New York.
“These substantial financial conditions, travel restrictions, and other conditions of release will reasonably assure Mr. Manafort’s appearance as required,” defense lawyers Kevin Downing and Tom Zehnle wrote in the new court submission.
Manafort also appears to be requesting an end to GPS monitoring that was imposed as part of the home confinement, although at a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson seemed reluctant to discontinue that surveillance.
Jackson is scheduled to address the bail issue further at a hearing set for Monday morning.
Manafort’s legal team also used the new filing to reframe some of the more colorful facts prosecutors highlighted in their bail submission earlier in the week, like the claim that Manafort had three passports at the time he was charged.
“Much has been made of Mr. Manafort’s possession of three different passports,” Downing and Zehnle wrote. “While some reports have painted this as though Mr. Manafort is akin to a 68-year-old ‘Jason Bourne’ character, the facts are much more mundane.”
The defense lawyers said Manafort got a second passport so that he could apply for visas while his first one was in use, a practice the State Department has long permitted. The lobbyist applied for a third one when he thought he had lost his first one, but that one later turned up, the attorneys said.
Manafort’s defense also said prosecutors were making too much of his travel abroad, which they said was inherent in his work as an international consultant.
“Mr. Manafort has been providing consulting services for international clients for many years and no one disputes this fact. It would be odd, indeed, if he did not frequently travel, both domestically and abroad, given his clientele and the nature of his business,” the lawyers wrote. “Simply put, one’s frequent flyer status should not be over-emphasized to show a potential risk of flight when a person’s job requires extensive travel.”
The defense did not respond to the prosecution’s claims that Manafort set up an email account and a mobile phone earlier this year using an alias and then traveled abroad with the phone.
After Manafort’s arraignment last Monday, a magistrate judge released him to home confinement on a $10 million personal recognizance bond. That arrangement amounted to the longtime political and business consultant promising to pay that sum if he failed to show up in court, but it did not require that he post any actual money or property.
Notably, Manafort’s latest pleading repeats an assertion in a prior pleading that the charges against the longtime lobbyist have nothing to do with the Trump campaign — a claim that echoes the White House’s main talking point about the case.
Manafort’s indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller comes amid a broad investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.
“Of note, his work on behalf of the Ukrainian clients ended around two years before Mr. Manafort agreed to work as the campaign manager for then-candidate Donald Trump,” the defense attorneys wrote.
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