Perhaps because there’s no place like home for the holidays, a federal judge has decided to let Paul Manafort spend Christmas morning in the Hamptons. Not to be a Grinch, but that’s a mistake.
Shady lobbyists with shadier Kremlin connections should not be allowed to buy their way out of trouble even if it is Christmas time.
Granted, President Trump’s former campaign manager hasn’t been convicted. And despite the attempts of many in the media, Manafort has not proved the domino to bring down the Trump family. Instead, and as Tim Carney noted when Robert Mueller’s special counsel filed its indictment against the Ukraine lobbyist, the government has argued that Manafort failed to register as a foreign agent and laundered his earnings from that arrangement.
The seriousness of those charges is definitely enough to land Manafort on both the naughty list and the no-fly list. It’s not like Manafort has been on especially good behavior ahead of the holidays. He was recently considered a flight risk and he defied court orders when he lied about penning an op-ed under someone else’s name.
But Manafort should be made to stay home for no other reason than to send a simple message: the well-connected and the wealthy shouldn’t be afforded special considerations because of their status. Put simply, his $10 million bond check doesn’t excuse his bad behavior.
Plenty of other suspects will miss Christmas for significantly less serious crimes. They won’t have their pick of locations for Christmas morning, let alone anything as luxurious as Manafort’s Alexandria home. Even the judge seemed to agree with that as he begrudgingly approved Manafort’s request.
"It is somewhat burdensome to the Court and to Pretrial Services for defendant to ask now that a new set of conditions be crafted to accommodate an entirely different arrangement,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, “given the fact that the defendant has not yet satisfied the conditions for his release from home confinement.
For whatever reason, Manafort will get to go vacation at his $2 million Colonial-style home in the Hamptons, a residence, according to court documents, complete with $820,000 in landscaping and $5.4 million in other upgrades. And at that snug little abode, Manafort will be allowed to put fancy art and plush rugs under the tree for his friends and family. That’s a mistake.