Mueller: Manafort and Gates ‘pose serious risk of flight’

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After pleading not guilty to a 12-count indictment, newly filed court papers indicate former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates pose a “serious risk of flight” because of their wealth and connections abroad.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office advised U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson to impose substantial bail and travel restrictions on the two, who face charges alleging money laundering and bank, tax and lobbying disclosure violations.

“The defendants pose a risk of flight based on the serious nature of the charges, their history of deceptive and misleading conduct, the potentially significant sentences the defendants face, the strong evidence of guilt, their significant financial resources, and their foreign connections,” Mueller’s office wrote in a bail memo unsealed Tuesday.

“Both have had substantial overseas ties, including assets held abroad, significant foreign work connections, and significant travel abroad. Those aspects of the defendants’ history and characteristics evidence a risk of flight.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Manafort, 68, listed his assets’ worth between $19 million and $136 million, the New York Daily News reported.

“His financial holdings are substantial, if difficult to quantify precisely,” court documents revealed.

The fact that Manafort keeps three U.S. passports, and has submitted 10 passport applications in recent years, is another red flag to prosecutors, who noted in the documents that he also has business ties to wealthy individuals in Moscow and Kiev, Ukraine.

Even Manafort’s age was brought up as a factor. Prosecutors claimed that he might be more inclined to flee with a guilty verdict carrying a sentence of around 12 to 15 years.

The judge ordered home confinement for both men and set bond at $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates.

As defendants, they are required to check in with law enforcement daily by phone and are only allowed to leave their homes to see attorneys and appear in court, or for medical and religious necessities. They will return to court Thursday to hear the terms of their bail.

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