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Thu Nov 9, 2017, 09:47 AM

Manafort's Secret Side Business in Florida?

Manafort’s work as a lobbyist for foreign governments was well known, and Manafort attorney Kevin Downing described him at the Monday hearing as an “international consultant” who worked on campaigns and overseas investing and had a lot of clients in New York City. The news that he also does some work in tech came up after Downing mentioned that Manafort did a “bit of work down in Florida” and that he’s “got a business down in Fort Lauderdale.” That piqued U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s curiosity. “What’s the business?” she asked.

“It’s a telecommunications business,” Downing replied. “It’s developing secure cell phones, and it also does make them relatively or virtually indestructible.”

Downing did not respond to HuffPost’s questions about the telecommunications business on Monday or Tuesday, and Judge Jackson issued a gag order on Wednesday that restricts attorneys’ comments to the media. (Jackson had admonished Downing after he spoke to cameras outside the courthouse after Manfort’s first court appearance.)

HuffPost has tried to find out more about the business. We’ve searched Florida business records, Fort Lauderdale tax records, poked around job boards and checked the transcript of Manafort’s hearing to make sure we didn’t miss any clues. But so far, we’ve come up short. (Do you know more? Email ryan.reilly@huffpost.com.)

[link:https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-manafort-cell-phone-company_us_5a00bdcae4b0baea2634097e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009|

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