Paul Manafort is seeking to block evidence found during the search

Attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort Wednesday sought to suppress evidence seized in searches of his Virginia home and a storage locker that Russia special counsel Robert Mueller has...

Attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort Wednesday sought to suppress evidence seized in searches of his Virginia home and a storage locker that Russia special counsel Robert Mueller has used to support charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud.

Manafort, one of 19 charged so far in the year-long inquiry, argued that FBI agents gained unauthorized access to a Virginia storage unit, while asserting that warrants obtained for both the storage locker and residence were so broad that they allowed a “wholesale sifting” of the former campaign chairman’s property.

“A warrant that says you can take everything is no warrant at all,” attorney Richard Westling told U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson, who has set the case for trial in September.

Manafort faces a separate federal trial on bank and tax fraud charges in neighboring Alexandria, Va., in July.

A large part of Wednesday’s hearing focused on whether a Manafort employee had the authority to allow investigators inside a northern Virginia storage unit last year without a warrant. A day later, agents obtained a warrant to search the unit’s contents.

Manafort attorney Tom Zehnle argued that only Manafort had authority to determine access to the unit — not the employee — making the agents’ entry unlawful.

Jackson, however, appeared skeptical of the defense argument, noting that the employee’s name — not Manafort’s — appeared on the storage unit’s lease agreement and that the employee maintained control of the key.

Jackson did not immediately rule on Manafort’s suppression requests.

Source: USA Today (Kevin Johnson)

Photo Credit: Patch

Photo Credit: Patch

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