The execution of a search warrant on a residence owned by Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign director, raises some interesting questions. Search warrants are rarely necessary in white-collar cases, yet their use seems to be more and more common.
“A search warrant is very bracing for the person who is being searched,” said Jack Sharman, the former special counsel to the House Banking Committee during its Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “It’s very invasive and sends a loud statement from the prosecutors to the person that there should be no doubts about the seriousness of the investigation.”
“The government will be investigating something like public corruption, and it knows that you know something about it,” said Mr. Sharman, now a white-collar criminal defense lawyer at Lightfoot, Franklin & White. “The government will then come after you on something unrelated, where you have criminal exposure, in the hopes that you will cooperate on their public corruption investigation.”
He’s also the perfect target to send a message to the rest of Washington that the special counsel investigation means business, said Jack Sharman, a white-collar lawyer in Alabama and former special counsel for Congress during the Bill Clinton Whitewater investigation.
“One purpose of such a raid is to bring home to the target the fact that the federal prosecution team is moving forward and is not going to defer to or rely on Congress,” he said.