Why should his crimes against the U.S. keep Paul Manafort from a Hamptons holiday?
Donald Trump’s ex–campaign adviser has been under house arrest in Virginia and Florida for weeks since his 12-count federal indictment for crimes including money laundering, tax fraud, and conspiracy against the United States, but he’s asking to spend Christmas with his family and in-laws in the Hamptons.
And Judge Amy Berman Jackson indicated Monday she might grant the request — IF Manafort provides “a detailed and complete itinerary, which must include not only the flight schedule but also the specific dates and times and address for any requested visits to his in-laws' home in East Hampton, and the specific date and time and address of any religious services he seeks to attend on December 24,” by Wednesday.
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If the order is granted, Manafort will have to “remain at his Bridgehampton home at all other times, and he will continue to be subject to GPS monitoring,” Jackson ruled, adding that “there will be no last-minute additions to the schedule.”
Previously Manafort has been limited to house arrest, with an 11 p.m. curfew. But under the new request, he’d be allowed to fly to New York and drive from the airport to his home on Jobs Lane — a route that will take him past local landmarks like the house from “Billions” and Matt Lauer’s horse farm.
Manafort has asked to stay at his south-of-the-highway home, which is also where his infamous million-dollar rug is located, between Dec. 22 and Dec. 26, with the 11 p.m. curfew lifted on Christmas Eve to allow for him to attend a midnight Mass. Manafort’s motion repeatedly references his deep religious faith, which he has never spoken publicly about or lobbied for in two decades on the Hill.
“The Manafort family has celebrated this religious holiday together for many years despite the significant physical distances between them. More recently, the family has sought to gather in New York because of the advanced age and physical impairments of certain close family members,” Manafort’s attorneys argued in the granted motion.
“In addition to the age and medical conditions noted above, the Manafort family also needed a home that could support the visiting family members,” the motion adds. “Attempting to arrange for the gathering at the defendant’s Virginia condominium, for example, where he is currently under home detention, would splinter the family’s regular religious celebration by precluding attendance by close family members and by not providing adequate accommodations for the other guests traveling significant distances to be with their family.”
But controversy will follow him to the Bridgehampton home he wants to stay at: According to the indictment, Manafort paid almost $5.5 million for renovations that, according to building permits, were only estimated to cost around $1.2 million. He also neglected to pay about $36,000 in taxes on the home, authorities say.
That buys a homeowner a lot of privet — even with the East End’s steep mark-ups — but unfortunately for Manafort, prosecutors seem to suspect it wasn’t the bush kind.