Manafort Bail Nearly Set With Addition of Mystery Property

WASHINGTON (CN) – Nearly seven months after his criminal indictment, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has yet to gather the $10 million in assets needed to ease his house arrest.

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, pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and other counts. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

But that could soon change. On Friday U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered prosecutors to say by May 25 whether a property in Renton, Washington can be posted as part of Manafort’s bond package. If so, he could finally make bail.

Manafort filed his most recent motion to modify his bail conditions under seal on May 9, saying that the filing contained sensitive and personal financial information. But a response from prosecutors on Thursday expresses no objections to the posting of the Washington state property, pending an interview with the owners.

The filing does not identify the owners or say why they offered to post the property.

Along with Manafort’s Fifth Avenue property in New York, the Washington home would be enough for him to satisfy his $10 million bail, prosecutors said.

“By posting both, it cures the infirmity with respect to the Fifth Avenue property (which is subject to a bank lien that can be resorted to at the bank’s discretion), and substituting the Washington property alone would result in unencumbered assets less than the required $10 million, as Manafort recognizes,” the government’s May 17 filing says.

Jackson ordered Manafort to respond to the government’s proposal on the two properties by May 25.

Jackson has consistently shot down Manafort’s requests to modify his bail conditions, leaving him under house arrest with a GPS monitoring device after initially finding him a flight risk. Jackson ruled on April 9 that some of the properties Manafort wanted to put up were already posted as collateral for other mortgages.

And another New York property Manafort wanted to post became ineligible, Jackson said, because it’s tied to bank-fraud charges pending against him in the Eastern District of Virginia.

As part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Manafort is facing separate indictments in two federal courts.

Since Manafort pleaded not guilty to the charges in Virginia on March 8, he has had to wear two monitoring devices.

Prosecutors in Washington said Thursday they do not object to Manafort wearing a single monitoring device if the two courts can agree that one will suffice.

In her May 18 minute order, Jackson said the court “is inclined to continue the monitoring it put in place prior to the arraignment established in the Eastern District of Virginia,” but ordered pretrial services in both courts to say by May 25 whether a single monitoring device is feasible, and if so which one.

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