Were the Results of the Paul Manafort Search Legal?

Paul Manafort is charged on the basis of what was found during a search, but there may be problems.

When Feds raided the home of Paul Manafort, they had a search warrant to provide legal cover for their actions. But that raises the question of whether they intended to stay within that cover or if they were really engaged in a “fishing expedition.” Or worse, were they looking for something that they could not get a warrant for and using the warrant as a means to “parallel construction.” The role of NSA spying presents that possibility.


Rachel Stockman wrote at Law Newz, “Did Mueller’s Team Violate Manafort’s Constitutional Rights? They May Have.

As a legal website, we were immediately drawn to the revelation that evidence was collected that may not have been covered by the warrant. That’s a serious development, and one that Manafort’s attorneys will no doubt seize upon. But, is it necessarily illegal? Did the agents do anything wrong? It’s not clear. It certainly could raise some serious constitutional issues that could taint the investigation.

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We get a bit more of a hint about what specifically the agents may have gathered through an older CNN article:

“During that raid, Mueller’s investigators took documents considered to be covered by attorney-client privilege, sources told CNN. Lawyers from the WilmerHale law firm, representing Manafort at the time, warned Mueller’s office that their search warrant didn’t allow access to attorney materials. The documents in question have now been returned, the sources say.”

As the article points out, this certainly brings up concerns as to what exactly was seized, what investigators saw, and who handled the material. You can’t “unsee” evidence once you saw it.

“If they (investigators) had any kind of heads up, and they went beyond the scope of the warrant, that could be a problem,” Henry Hockeimer, a former federal prosecutor, told LawNewz.com.

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