The prosecutors with the special envoy to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 elections rejected a Friday trial when they claimed that one of their own information leaked.
In a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, FBI agent Jeff Pfeiffer spoke When Department of Justice officials met Associated Press reporters last April to talk about Paul Manafort, it was actually the law enforcement team that got something from the reporters – the fact that the longtime lobbyist and former Trump election leader had a camp unit.
Manafort lawyers charged with banking and tax fraud in Alexandria have argued that Justice Department attorney Andrew Weissmann may have passed information to the AP at this meeting.
At this time, Weissmann was head of the criminal police department. Fraud department, the Manafort before the election probe of Robert S. Müller III. examined.
Pfeiffer confirmed that Weissmann was present at the meeting b ut said the law enforcement team had made "no comment" except that the reporters were on the right track.
Law enforcement officials agreed to the meeting to find out if they could get information from reporters about Manafort's investigation "testimonies," Pfeiffer agreed, adding that the newscast was "substantial."
"Journalists from the Associated Press met with Justice Department officials to get information about reports, as reporters report," AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said in a statement Friday. "During the meeting, they asked DOJ representatives for a Paul Manafort storage cabinet without sharing their name or location."
The AP released a report the day after the meeting, which earned Manafort at least $ 1
Pfeiffer said he learned at the meeting that Manafort had a storage unit. After the meeting, he sought a subpoena, which eventually led him to a locker in Alexandria, which contained many business and financial records of Manafort.
On Friday, it was questionable whether Manafort's employee, who allowed Pfeiffer into the unit, was entitled to do so, and whether any alleged government losses had caused potential jurors against Manafort.
Through the summons Pfeiffer learned the name of Alexander Trusko, a personal assistant of Manafort, who let federal agents into the unit.
Trusko founded the unit, according to the documents submitted, and his name was on the lease. He told Pfeiffer that Manafort was an "authorized user" but probably never visited.
Pfeiffer said he had received a search warrant after consulting with the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, "although he believed that it was not necessary with Truskos' signed agreement.
US District Judge TS Ellis III did not immediately adjudicate a claim for defense or any other claim that argued that a search warrant in Manafort's house was too far-fetched.
But he quickly suggested a proposal from one of Manafort's lawyers, Kevin Downing, resigned The case may be delayed or even dismissed because of the problem with the leak.
"How can he have a fair trial if the press and the media do it? , , the population here is saturated? "Downing asked.
" I will not refuse the case, "Ellis said sharply, interrupting him repeatedly.
Downing referred to former Vice President Spiro Agnew and suggested that he should do so in the 1980s In his case, a leaky government will not raise objections to a single charge of tax evasion.
Ellis said he only accepted requests from defendants who acknowledged guilt and remembered the story differently.
Ellis added that he could still vote for it decide to hold a hearing on whether or not the grand jury's material was properly published, but after the July 25 trial, making it clear that he would not delay the trial if it was not for personal reasons. Changing the venue was "really the only way," he said, and only if Manafort thinks it's necessary 659021] "You often used the word" saturated "- prove it," he said. "Leaks do not determine transfer."
Ellis also shot down a query from Muller's jury questionnaire team on Friday saying he would interview all potential juries themselves. He also called on the government to reduce its current estimate of a three-week process.
The questionable power of investigation at the hearing also specifies to what extent Manafort got into debt and depended on pro-Russian interests.
The FBI's records, Pfeiffer said, contain evidence that Manafort lied to receive millions of dollars in loans and disguise the money he was paid by Yanukovych's party.
Applying for loan applications for three months in 2016 According to court documents, Manafort has variously held $ 15 million, $ 17 million, $ 21 million and $ 36 million in assets
] In 2016, he spent five months as an unpaid campaign manager for Trump, and Manafort received at least $ 28.5 million in loans.
"He's so in debt," an unidentified person wrote in an e-mail regarding a $ 3.5 million loan to Manafort from a real estate firm on September 27, 2016, that had documents.
They also give an overview of Manafort's spending, including $ 49,000 for his wife in a villa in Italy and $ 21,000 for a limited-edition titanium watch "Royal Way" from the House of Bijan mansion.
Manafort stands in DC before similar federal trials, where a judge recently ordered him to be held in detention until the trial. Lawyers questioned his detention order, and on late Thursday demanded his immediate release until appealed. They said Manafort's 24-hour suspension, with the exception of attorney-service, in a Virginia jail, two hours' drive southeast of Washington, made it "impossible to prepare for his upcoming trials."
He did not appear in person on Friday. He was not released from custody.
Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.