Mueller Ordered to Let Judge Review Manafort Search Affidavits

(Bloomberg) -- The federal judge overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort said she wants to review four unredacted affidavits underlying the government’s searches and seizures in the case as the defense weighs whether to challenge the evidence.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington on Friday told Mueller’s team to produce the affidavits by May 21 so she can review them privately. Jackson also said the agent who signed the affidavit in support of the search warrant for Manafort’s storage unit must be present and available to testify, if necessary, at a hearing set for May 23.

Manafort argued in a March 28 filing that the redactions on the affidavits made it impossible "to divine the importance of information that the government continues to hide." Manafort claims the affidavit for the storage unit search, for example, "omits critical information" and leaves the defense “unable to evaluate if the government had a legitimate basis for entering the storage unit.”

Jackson on May 15 turned down Manafort’s request to dismiss a federal indictment accusing him of money laundering and working as an unregistered foreign agent. A dismissal would have been a blow to Mueller as he faces political attacks by President Donald Trump, congressional Republicans and conservative media over his yearlong probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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