An anonymous California man who donated $1 million to Paul Manafort in 2017 is asking courts to keep his name from the public so as not to “shatter” his friendships and relationships.
CNN reported that lawyers for Woodlawn LLC, a shell company claiming to be the lender, filed a motion on Thursday to keep his name private.
The lawyers cited the man’s residence in Southern California — a region “where President Trump is highly unpopular” — as one of the reasons for his request.
“It is well known that friendships and other relationships have shattered over political views in our current ‘tribal’ society,” the filing read.
The report noted that the shell company is willing to share the man’s identity with the courts while still preventing “the general public from learning the identity of a private person.”
“He has been and remains extremely concerned that if his identity is revealed to the public, he will suffer grave damage to his business and personal relationships due to the unpopularity of President Trump and anyone closely associated with the President, such as Paul Manafort, in California, where he lives and does business,” the anonymous donor’s lawyer’s said in the filing.
CNN noted that the mysterious benefactor’s donation to Manafort was made just before the former Trump campaign chairman was indicted in 2017 — a fact that raised the suspicions of prosecutors, who said it’s similar to “other fake or illegal payments” he received.
Prosecutors further alleged that Manafort could be the person behind Woodlawn LLC and would therefore be self-lending — an accusation the shell company called a “preposterous theory” that is “misleading and frivolous.”