Manafort Ally to Testify Before Grand Jury
Paul Manafort’s spokesman is expected to testify in front of a Washington federal grand jury Friday morning, according to people familiar with the matter.
The spokesman, Jason Maloni, has worked for Trump’s former campaign chairman since early 2017 and has wide visibility into Manafort’s dealings. Maloni previously worked for a PR firm but left to continue representing Manafort.
It’s unclear exactly what prosecutors want to know from Maloni. Asking a PR person to testify is an unusual step that raises some troubling questions, according to lawyers and others in the industry. Spokespeople are paid and generally enjoy confidential relationships with clients, often seeing private documents and other private matters.
Also, having a spokesperson testify could expose relationships with members of the news media, these people say.
However, there is nothing that prevents prosecutors from asking a PR person to testify — and they often have valuable insight. The prosecutors have also asked Maloni for a wide array of records, according to people familiar with the matter.
He is not considered a target in the investigation, these people say.
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. Maloni also declined to comment.
Prosecutors are said to be looking into Manafort’s business transactions, including possible money laundering, and his actions during the Trump campaign. He has not been charged with wrongdoing.
The investigation has accelerated in recent weeks.
Mueller’s team has taken some aggressive steps toward Manafort that haven’t been taken with others. For example, Mueller’s team raided Manafort’s house in the early morning hours with him home, even as his lawyers said he was cooperating. The team has also subpoenaed a Manafort lawyer, another unusual step for prosecutors.