Several prominent Democrats who once worked with Paul Manafort have been dragged into court filings before his fraud trial, most prominently Tad Devine, a political consultant who helped run Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
The names appear on a list of documents that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could show to the jury to be selected next week in Alexandria, Va. Among the hundreds of exhibits are e-mails and memos between Manafort and several political and advertising strategists of the Democratic Party for two decades, including three others who also worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
That raises the prospect that Manafort’s trial could provide insights about the international work of U.S. consultants across the political spectrum. Years before he became Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Manafort hired operatives to work in Ukraine on parliamentary and presidential campaigns for former President Viktor Yanukovych, according to the exhibit list and interviews.
The exhibits also include documents relating to Manafort’s work with Devine’s partner Julian Mulvey, who was the creative director of Sanders’ TV advertising. Jurors will see e-mail chains involving Devine, Mulvey, Manafort and his right-hand man at the time, Rick Gates. The e-mails run from 2006 through to 2014, after Yanukovych fled to Moscow after protests against his rule. Devine, a longtime consultant for the Democratic Party, also advised Al Gore in his presidential campaign in 2000 and John Kerry’s campaign in 2004.
Devine and Mulvey weren’t available for comment.
Also on the list are e-mails, memos and invoices from Democratic media consultants Daniel Rabin and Adam Strasberg. They worked alongside Devine and Mulvey during successive campaigns in Ukraine. Strasberg worked on the Kerry and Sanders presidential campaigns while Rabin, now at RSH Campaigns, has devised ad campaigns for Democratic candidates for two decades.
Rabin and Strasberg didn’t respond to requests for comment via LinkedIn.
It’s unclear what’s in the communications, and there’s no indication of wrongdoing by those who e-mailed Manafort or his partners. It’s also unclear how prosecutors intend to use the documents during the trial or who among the men who sent them might be called as witnesses.
Manafort didn’t hire only Democrats. Tony Fabrizio, a U.S. pollster and strategist at Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, worked for Manafort in Ukraine on 2012 parliamentary elections. Fabrizio, who was the pollster for President Donald Trump’s campaign, is included in e-mail chains with Manafort and his local fixer Konstantin Kilimnik.
Fabrizio didn’t respond to a voicemail requesting comment.
Prosecutors will argue that Manafort lied about income and offshore accounts to U.S. authorities while earning tens of millions of dollars as a political consultant in Ukraine. That was before he joined the Trump campaign in early 2016. It will be Mueller’s first trial since beginning his investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.