Paul Manafort will be spending the next seven-and-a-half years in federal prison — but some of his prized possessions will be waiting for him on the outside. CNN reports that Manafort gets to keep the expensive clothing that prosecutors used as evidence against him in his trial, including his $18,500 python skin bomber jacket and $9,500 ostrich vest.
Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was a longtime Republican lobbyist and consultant who was known for handling PR for authoritarians like former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, and Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine. He faced two different trials: one for his dealings in Ukraine and another for a litany of financial crimes, including money laundering and tax fraud.
As the New York Times explained last August, special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution team “had a very specific goal” in mind when they had witnesses testify about the lavish, often ostentatious clothing Manafort bought himself: to “paint him as a man driven by greed, adept at lies, and shrewd enough to cover his tracks with false invoices.”
The owners of two boutiques Manafort was known to frequent, Alan Couture and House of Bijan, both testified against him during the trial. Manafort’s self-presentation was such an important part of his persona that he was prohibited from wearing a suit to any of his court appearances. As Rebecca Jennings recently wrote for The Goods, lawyers regularly advise their clients on how to dress for trial because they know a defendant’s appearance will sway jurors. A suit would have made Manafort look polished and professional; a prison jumpsuit, on the other hand, made him look guilty.
Behold. The $15,000 ostrich coat Manafort bought with an international wire transfer, according to a men’s clothier who testified today. Government exhibit pic.twitter.com/BjuQ39ZeJ0
— Kara Scannell (@KaraScannell) August 1, 2018
Manafort was ultimately found guilty on eight counts, though jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on 10 other counts brought by Mueller’s team. In addition to serving time in prison, Manafort is turning over more than $36 million in assets — including five properties in New York, three bank accounts, and one life insurance policy — to the federal government and to his debtors, plus an additional $17 million he owes the federal government. But according to CNN, he isn’t required to give up any of his expensive clothing as part of the arrangement.
It’s worth noting that Manafort is by no means the only member of Trump’s inner circle who has a taste for expensive clothes. First lady Melania Trump was criticized for wearing a $51,000 coat during the G7 Summit in Italy in 2017 and a Chanel couture gown to a White House state dinner for French president Emmanuel Macron the following year. And, of course, there’s Roger Stone, who made an instructional video on how to dress for your day in court that featured a bespoke suit.
Manafort’s decision to purchase a $6,500 camel hair sport coat, a $32,800 lizard-skin jacket, or $15,000 ostrich track jacket may have been a power move — but these purchases, and what they signify, likely came back to haunt him during the trial. If he still has debts to pay off by the time he’s released, it’s possible you’ll find them on the RealReal soon.
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