Speed Reads

With friends like these...

Last year, one of Paul Manafort's associates led an FBI agent to a treasure trove of his documents

Paul Manafort's list of friends is getting shorter and shorter.

Manafort is President Trump's former campaign chief, charged with, among other things, conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to launder money. His former deputy, Rick Gates, agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year, but court documents show another one of Manafort's associates assisted the FBI last May, showing a special agent a storage unit in Virginia where Manafort kept 21 boxes filled with documents related to his business and finances, The Daily Beast reports.

The court documents were filed by Manafort's attorneys on April 6, arguing that the documents found in the storage unit should not be used in the case against Manafort because the associate — whose name is redacted — was not authorized to show the agent the storage facility, violating Manafort's Fourth Amendment rights. The FBI agent said in a May 27, 2017, affidavit that the associate was a salaried employee of Manafort's Steam Mountain LLC, and performed "a variety of functions for Manafort and his companies as directed by Manafort."

The affidavit was written nine days after the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the agent noted that the boxes contained everything from invoices to legal complaints, and some were marked "Ukraine campaign"; both Manafort and Gates were involved in Ukrainian politics for years. The affidavit stated that the employee was on the storage unit's lease, and gave consent to the agent looking through it. The agent was interested by the contents — the next day, the agent filed the affidavit with a magistrate judge, and the facility was soon under surveillance by law enforcement officials watching to see if anyone took anything out of the unit. Read more about the associate — and his possible identity — at The Daily Beast.