Manafort’s case saddled by side issues, disputes

Associated Press


U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was not amused.

A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was trying to justify the multimillion-dollar value of his client’s home as part of a bail package. Rather than producing tax assessment or property records, the lawyer submitted to the judge a printout from Zillow, the online real-estate website.

“Zillow is actually considered to be pretty accurate, Your Honor,” said Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney. The judge swatted that aside, insisting she needed “something, some piece of paper beyond just what I got.”

On many days, the high-profile, high-stakes prosecution of Manafort – a case already outside the central election-meddling focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation – is mired in side issues that have left the judge exasperated.

Whatever Manafort’s strategy, his team’s efforts appear largely reflective of the former international consultant’s frustration with what he sees as an out-of-control prosecution – and a burdensome house arrest from which his attorneys, despite several attempts, have been unable to free him. The halting pace of the case in Washington is about to face another obstacle: With new charges filed in Virginia, Manafort is now going to have to balance a wholly separate case with a different judge and possibly another trial.

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