According to news reports, the FBI conducted a “pre-dawn raid” at Manafort’s Virginia home, which began at 6:00 a.m. in late July. There was no legitimate reason to roust Paul Manafort and his family out of bed to serve the search warrant.
The federal search warrant form (form AO 93) gives the issuing judge two options related to the time the warrant is to be served or executed. It can be served during the daytime, which is defined as 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Or it can be executed “at any time in the day or night because good cause has been established.”
It appears that the warrant was a “documents” warrant for financial, tax, and other business records. A documents warrant is typically executed at a reasonable time during the day and not during a “pre-dawn raid.”
Examples of “good cause” for authorizing the execution of a warrant at night would be if the government established that it was necessary for officer safety, to prevent the destruction of evidence, or to prevent the flight of a suspect. Executing search warrants at night increases the danger to the officers and is usually done only in cases involving violent crimes, such as drugs, firearms, gangs, bank robberies, etc.
The fact that the agents executed the warrant at 6:00 a.m. indicates that it was a daytime warrant. The only purpose in executing the warrant before dawn was to intimidate Paul Manafort. The FBI and the Special Counsel should be called out on this.
It’s long past the point in time for the government to produce evidence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. If no such evidence exists, the investigation should be shut down.Published in