Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is grasping at straws while twirling his mustache and lashing out at Special Counsel Mueller who indicted him just a few weeks ago.
His argument, articulated in a court filing via attorney Kevin Downing, is all kinds of crazy, though.
Just to catch you up – Mueller indicted Manafort on October 30 as part of the special counselor’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Manafort was placed under house arrest while facing felony charges for financial crimes and money laundering. He had reached an agreement with prosecutors that would have released him from house arrest on $10 million bond; however, that’s all up in the air now that it appears he ghost-wrote an op-ed with a colleague connected to Russian intelligence, which prosecutors say violates that agreement.
NEW COURT FILING: MANAFORT suggests special counsel is trying to limit his 1st amendment rights by trying to stop him from publishing an op-ed in Ukraine, & argues that the op-ed wasn't an effort to influence his case. pic.twitter.com/ecbh1ry8d7
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) December 7, 2017
Downing, Manafort’s attorney, seems to be going wide by playing the First Amendment card. Just because his client is charged with a crime doesn’t mean he’s totally forfeited his freedom of speech, does it? And that freedom allows him the opportunity to just lightly edit the public record about the “good works” he’s done in Ukraine.
Former Office of Ethics Director Walter Shaub weighed in on the drama, likening it more to a comedy with the hashtag #SpringtimeForPutin.
In the wake of Russia’s election meddling and reports alleging Manafort was ghost writing an OpEd with a suspected Russian intel goon, his attorney worrying about his 1st amendment rights during a Persian rug-filled home arrest is the stuff of Mel Brooks films #SpringtimeForPutin pic.twitter.com/Er3H93CLdG
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 7, 2017
Basically it looks like Team Manafort isn’t seeing the forest through the trees. We’re talking big time financial crimes and money laundering charges that could lead to treason. It’s not really the time to be arguing first amendment small potatoes.
Manafort’s lawyers are worried about how limiting his ability to speak for himself will affect his reputation with potential jurors. It’s probably safe to say that reputation’s already pretty trashed. Not a ton of big time Paul Manafort fans out there to begin with.
Manafort’s insistence on pushing back against the special counselor’s probe is a testament to the lengths that these corrupt Trump administration officials will go to in order to stall, subvert or obstruct justice. No amount of political posturing, however, will derail what has proven to be a laser focused and rapidly progressing investigation.