Manafort Loses Effort to Keep Storage-Unit Evidence Out of Trial

(Bloomberg) -- Paul Manafort lost a second attempt to block prosecutors from introducing evidence seized from his Virginia storage unit at one of his trials.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, in Alexandria, Virginia, on Monday denied the former Trump campaign chairman’s request to declare the FBI’s search illegal or suppress the documents. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using those documents to support claims that Manafort committed bank fraud and tax-related offenses.

Ellis took testimony from FBI agent Jeff Pfeiffer at a hearing on June 29. Defense attorneys said the agent had gotten an unauthorized glimpse at the unit’s contents from a Manafort employee.

"There are no grounds for suppression of the evidence recovered from the May 27, 2017 search of the storage unit," Ellis said at the conclusion of his 23-page ruling.

Manafort made a similar request to suppress the storage-locker evidence in federal court in Washington, where he’s charged with money laundering, acting as an unregistered agent of Ukraine and obstruction of justice. That judge rejected the request on June 21.

Jury selection in the Virginia trial is scheduled to start on July 25. His Washington trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 17.

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