Skip To Content
The Schmooze

What Will Become Of Paul Manafort’s Hideous Ostrich Coat?

The American public anxiously awaits the verdict of Paul Manafort’s hot-button trial, but we at The Forward  have heavier matters on our minds. Don’t get us wrong, we are feverishly refreshing our Twitter feeds to check if the jury has come to a decision, yet we can’t help but fixate on a certain aspect of this judicial rigmarole. What happens to Manafort’s ostrich coat if he is sent to jail?

Yes, we are referring to the $15,000 leather coat plucked from an ostrich’s body that Paul Manafort owns, which prosecutors revealed in court to underscore the defendant’s flashy lifestyle. This coat, which has become a universal emblem of absurdity and excessive spending, was purchased in Alan Couture. Maximilian Katzman, the ex-manager of Alan Couture and son of the high-end shop’s founder, Alan Katzman, testified against his former customer during the trial, saying that Manafort spent almost $1 million in their store, with this luxury item included in his shopping sprees.

We have clung to this coat because of the sheer inanity: Manafort paying an exorbitant sum for an objectively hideous coat that some poor ostrich was slaughtered for. It reminds us that there is still room for laughter and collective bonding across the Internet in a time of extreme political partisanship – both Republicans and Democrats alike have poked fun at the absurdity of this coat.

And so, we wonder, what happens to this precious coat if Mr. Manafort is locked up?

Does he get to keep it? Will the government confiscate it? We would personally love to see Robert Mueller strut around in the ostrich coat.

The Daily Beast spoke to Renato Mariotti about this piquing legal complication. Mariotti explained that the the government has a few different routes to pursue upon depriving a person of his or her property. “Because it’s the easiest for the government, they do criminal forfeiture,” Mariotti told The Daily Beast. Criminal forfeiture occurs when the government takes away a possession from a person that was used during a crime. However, it is questionable if the government will be able to seize the coat from Manafort if he is found guilty because it is was not listed in the unreported payment. The Daily Beast explains that, “bank records Alan Couture entered into evidence show a $102,000 wire transfer from Pompolo Ltd — one of 31 offshore companies Manafort created — shortly thereafter. But that transfer isn’t included on a list of unreported-income transactions alleged by the government, meaning the feds might not be able to lay claim to it even if there’s a guilty verdict.”

Before you start conjuring up images in your head of Paul Manafort wrapped in that tasteless ostrich skin while harrumphing in a jail cell, take a step back. Even if the jury decides to ship him off to prison, he might have to reimburse his victims or pay a fine. The compensation he’ll have to offer will be quite a hefty sum — and he may have no choice but to part with the deeply beloved ostrich coat in a desperate attempt to make bank.

Poor Paul!

Tamar Skydell is an intern at The Forward. You can contact her at [email protected]

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.