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[Video] How to Redact Manafort's Top-Secret Court Docs in 30 Seconds or Less

January 8, 2019  |  2 min read

Redaction

When Paul Manafort's lawyers submitted their latest pleading in federal court this morning, they left a significant amount of text redacted. Or rather "redacted."

Instead of actually removing the text they intended to redact, Manafort's attorneys left the text there, obscured by a black background but discoverable to anyone who knows how to copy and paste. 

In the high-stakes fight over whether Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, violated his plea deal by lying to prosecutors about his ties to Russian intelligence, Manafort's lawyers made some easy-to-avoid redaction mistakes—accidentally revealing how Trump campaign data could have been shared with Russia

How hard would it have been to properly redact that information? Not hard at all. Below, Logikcull's Sr. Marketing Director Robert Hilson shows how easily proper redaction of legal documents can be. Follow along in the video or read the (unredacted) summary that follows. 

Hi there. I’m Robert Hilson, a director at Logikcull, and today I’ll be showing you how to redact—or in this case, re-redact—a document using Logikcull.

It’s not hard to redact documents, as you’ll see in a second, but it is easy to screw up if you’re not using the right tools. In fact, just today, news broke that in responding to Robert Mueller claim’s, Paul Manafort’s lawyers filed a response that included several passages that were improperly redacted, which means the entire world can now read them...

Now, this is more common than it may seem even though we’re talking about something as seemingly simple as drawing a black box around words.

Back in my days as a court reporter, I use to see this all the time. There are documents all over PACER that aren’t redacted correctly and when those mistakes come to light, usually bad things happen.

Why does this happen so often? Usually because people use tools they shouldn’t—Microsoft Office or maybe an Adobe product. 

When redactions aren't properly applied, you can just copy and paste the text that hasn't actually been removed, letting you see the text underneath. How do we prevent that from happening? It takes just seconds in Logikcull. 

For example, the first redaction in the Manafort document appears on page five. We can just copy the text that is meant to be redacted, paste it into a new document, and read everything that was meant to be removed. To correct that, I just need to select the redaction tool in Logikcull. Logikcull will automatically apply a redaction box to the previously blacked-out text, or allow you to drag and drop your own redactions freely. Just hit save redactions and, once those documents are produced, Logikcull will flatten the image, applying the redaction box so that the covered material will be totally deleted in the redacted version. 

That’s how to properly apply a redaction. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be reaching out to Mr. Manafort’s lawyers.