WASHINGTON ― Attorneys for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told a federal judge on Saturday that he’s not “akin to a 68-year-old ‘Jason Bourne’ character” despite his possession of three passports.
Manafort is set to appear in court again on Monday morning for a hearing on the conditions of his release following his arrest last week on 12 federal counts, including conspiracy and money laundering. He and his business associate Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to the charges brought forward by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at Manafort’s second court hearing on Thursday that she was concerned that he posed a flight risk. In a court filing on Saturday, Manafort’s lawyers assured the judge that the reason he had three passports was “mundane”: He has a primary passport, a second passport to submit with visa applications to certain foreign countries, and a third that he applied for after he lost his primary passport, which he later found.
Manafort’s “frequent flyer status,” lawyer Kevin Downing wrote, “should not be over-emphasized to show a potential risk of flight when a person’s job requires extensive travel.” He said that Manafort was just a “successful domestic and international political consultant” who “traveled frequently and represented businessmen, political parties, and commercial interests around the world,” activities that were “completely” legal.
“It would be odd, indeed, if he did not frequently travel, both domestically and abroad, given his clientele and the nature of his business,” Downing wrote.
He also noted that Manafort has been married for almost 40 years and has two daughters and two grandchildren in the U.S. He said that his client’s primary assets are also in the United States.
One of the charges that Manafort is facing relates to his alleged failure to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists to disclose when they’re working on behalf of a foreign principal. Downing, not incorrectly, said that particular charge was “rarely pursued (or successfully prosecuted) in a criminal case.”
Manafort is currently on house arrest under electronic monitoring and a $10 million unsecured bond. He’s seeking less onerous conditions of release. To guarantee his future court appearances, his attorney said Manafort would be willing to pledge a $3 million Trump Tower apartment in New York City, another $3.5 million home in New York, a $1.5 million home in Palm Beach, Florida, and a “combination of life insurance policies held in trust and/or in his or his wife’s name” and valued at approximately $4.5 million ― for a total of more than $12 million.
Although Manafort has not yet reached an agreement with prosecutors over the conditions of his release, his lawyers wrote that he would agree to limit his travel to Florida, Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C. Prosecutors with Mueller’s office are expected to file their response to the Manafort filing on Sunday.
On Thursday, Jackson seemed open to lifting Manafort’s house arrest but skeptical of removing his electronic monitoring.
Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice, federal law enforcement and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Signal at 202-527-9261.