What you need to know before Paul Manafort’s trial

31 July, 2018, 15:40 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Mueller releases list of potential witnesses in Paul Manafort's trial

Those questions will be answered by 12 jurors selected this week as Manafort's trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges gets underway at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

The trial of US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is set to begin with tales of lavish spending, secret companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing to his pocket from offshore bank accounts.

The charges all came about through the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election, led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

"Accordingly, to prove that Manafort earned that much income, the government must be able to show the extent of the work that he performed for Ukraine".

And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

Turley said Manafort may be "playing a pardon strategy".

"This wasn't inherited by his rich uncle who dies in Ukraine or whatever", Akerman said.

When Mueller initially filed charges - which came first in an indictment handed down in October by a grand jury in D.C. - Gates seemed ready to fight the case.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump.




"He's not Manafort's brain, but he knows Manafort's brain", said Patrick Cotter, a former prosecutor, who worked on the conviction of John Gotti. Mueller's original mandate was to investigate not only potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, but also any other crimes arising from the probe. As a result of his plea agreement, all charges in this case were dismissed and he will be testifying against Manafort. Previously, he tried to challenge Mueller's prosecutorial authority, a move that included filing a civil lawsuit against the Justice Department.

While jurors will be hearing painstaking detail about Manafort's finances, they won't be told about Manafort's other criminal case, in the nation's capital, where he faces charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the government.

A star government witness will be Richard Gates, a former deputy Trump campaign chairman and former Manafort business associate.

"We have once again reached the point in time where we should cast aside all USA political work in favor of everyone's most beloved country - Ukraine", Gates wrote in a 2014 email to some American political strategists.

Mueller's team said it would not present evidence at the trial in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, about possible campaign collusion with Russian Federation, potentially saving it for a second Manafort trial in Washington in September. Now Rick Gates - who, at one time, was also Manafort's co-defendant - is expected to be the key witness against his old business partner and mentor in his trial on bank and tax fraud charges.

While Gates and others, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and has insisted on having his day in court. The judge in the case, T.S. Ellis, has said that he doesn't think it will need to go longer than three weeks and would like it to wrap up in two.

The special counsel has also enlisted as many as 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort.

Seven prosecutors from Mueller's office were expected to feature prominently in the trial, including veteran government attorneys Andrew Weissmann and Greg Andres, who returned to the government from private practice to work on Mueller's probe.

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