Judge Sees Indicted Trump Associates as Flight Risks

Paul Manafort accompanied by his lawyer Kevin Downing, right, arrives at U.S. Federal Court, in Washington, on Nov. 2, 2017. Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Manafort’s business associate Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and other counts. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Unable to pin down the assets of President Donald Trump’s indicted former campaign manager, a federal judge called Monday for more assurances that Paul Manafort will not flee the country.

Declining to finalize bail packages for Manafort and co-defendant Richard Gates, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she is concerned that the men could be a flight risk, not that either is dangerous.

Neither can travel internationally while they await trial but Jackson said she would be willing to ease the terms of their house arrest so that they can travel domestically for business.

Defense attorney Kevin Downing said Manafort’s international consulting and telecommunications businesses require him to travel to New York City and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Manafort offered in a Nov. 4 motion to secure his future appearances by pledging various assets including a condominium in Trump Tower and another Manhattan property with a combined value of $6.5 million, as well as real estate in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, worth $1.5 million.

Jackson called it a “good start,” but said it’s not enough.

FILE – In this July 21, 2016 file photo, Rick Gates, campaign aide to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a former business associate, Rick Gates, have been told to surrender to federal authorities Monday, according to reports and a person familiar with the matter.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Manafort also agreed to put up several life insurance policies held in trust or in his wife’s name, and said that family members could also serve as surety. Jackson voiced reluctance to allow the latter.

Denying that his client poses a flight risk, Downing said the lack of discovery has made them unable to even evaluate the government’s case. “There is much to question regarding the legal theories and the purported facts behind these charges,” his Nov. 4 motion states.

The government argued in a reply brief that Manafort “has not yet substantiated his net worth or provided sufficient documentation to establish the value of property and assets he proposes to secure a modified bond.”

During a bail-bond hearing, prosecutors said they intend to produce discovery on a rolling basis.

Manafort’s bail was previously set at $10 million, and Gates’ was half that. Prosecutors told the court this morning that Manafort is believed to hold $28 million in assets, but that they need at least two more days to verify that.

Manafort and Gates were indicted last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the probe of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election last year. The 12-count indictment against Manafort and Gates includes charges of conspiracy, money laundering, being an unregistered foreign agent and failure to pay taxes on millions earned as a lobbyist for the former Ukrainian government.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges on Oct. 30.

Manafort and Gates are set to appear in court again on Dec. 11 for a status conference.

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