Late Saturday afternoon, an attorney for Paul Manafort filed a motion in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., to grant the former campaign chair for Donald Trump bail and release him from house arrest and GPS monitoring, according to documents obtained by New York Magazine.
Manafort was indicted Monday morning for crimes related to allegedly funneling money he earned lobbying for foreign powers through offshore shell companies. He pleaded not guilty.
When I talked to one of his longtime friends following his indictment, we discussed the unusual fact that Manafort was never compensated for his work on the Trump campaign. The longtime friend, who requested anonymity, told me that Manafort was so rich he didn’t need to be paid for his work. And his absence from the campaign payroll, the source said, made Trump trust him more. “He’s close to all of his advisers, but he’s always closest to the free ones.” The source added that Manafort is “a resident of the Tower,” as in Trump Tower, and Manafort saw Trump “as a peer.” Unlike everyone else, “he called him Donald.”
But Manafort’s attorney, Kevin Downing, now argues that his client — who, according to his indictment, spent close to $1 million on clothing over the course of a few years — isn’t a flight risk because he’s not as rich as people think.
According to the court filing, Manafort’s offshore accounts “have been closed or have relatively nominal balances because the work for the Ukranian clients was essentially concluded by the end of 2014.” And other than his life-insurance policies, all of his other assets are real estate in the U.S.
Despite appearances, Downing wrote, Manafort is not
“a 68-year-old ‘Jason Bourne’ character.” He owns three different passports for “mundane” reasons, like needing one in order to apply for foreign visas and getting a replacement for a lost passport but then finding it (he claims to have alerted the State Department at the time).
Manafort also claims to have provided special counsel Robert Mueller with “a net worth statement approximating his total assets available.” However, coming up with proof of this claim in a timely fashion “has proven problematic,” according to the court filing, but “based on discussions with the Office of Special Counsel, the defense is gathering documentation supportive of the assets and liabilities identified on the net worth statement.”
But for the time being, Manafort has pledged his Trump Tower apartment, “approximate net asset value $3 million,” another $3.5 million asset located on Baxter Street in New York, and a Palm Beach Gardens home valued at $1.5 million, plus $4.5 million in life-insurances policies held in a trust in his or his wife’s name.
He wants to be able to travel to D.C., Virginia, Florida, and New York, but he’s agreed not to travel internationally.
But, as one source put it upon reviewing the court filing, “he really, really, really wants to be released from having to wear a GPS monitor.”