What are the charges against Paul Manafort?

02 August, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Manafort trial poses first courtroom test for Mueller

A prosecutor showed Mikuska and the jury a series of invoices, including for home improvement work, that was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the August 2017 raid.

Prosecutors portrayed U.S. President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a tax cheat who used offshore accounts to hide tens of millions of dollars from political work in Ukraine, as the first trial from a probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election got off to a quick start on Tuesday. His defense attorneys say he isn't to blame because he left the details of his finances to others.

The suggestion in court Wednesday that prosecutors may not ask Gates to testify apparently surprised even Judge T.S. Ellis - who retorted: "This is news to me".

He cautioned them that the term could imply that Manafort was associating with "despicable people and therefore he's despicable".

"That's not the American way", the judge said.

But assistant U.S. attorney Uzo Asonye said of Gates: "He may testify, he may not".

Things like a $21,000 Limited Edition black titanium Royal Way watch with crystal, a Mercedes Benz for his wife, and a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich. At one point, his defense lawyers sued Mueller and the Justice Department, saying they'd overstepped their bounds by bringing a prosecution untethered to the core questions of Mueller's investigation - whether Russian Federation worked with the Trump campaign to tip the election. Mueller was not present in the courtroom.

Prosecutor Greg Andres argued that documenting Manafort's spending for the jury was important to the case.

"All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied", Asonye said. At one point, prosecutor Uzo Asonye said it was possible the star witness in the case, Manafort's former right-hand man Rick Gates, may not be needed to testify, although that was met with some skepticism in the courtroom.

Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly sought to play down Manafort's connection to the president, yet the trial won't be entirely without references to the campaign. Their roles were expected to feature more prominently in the Washington trial later this autumn.

When Capone stood trial in 1931, prosecutors needed a way to show that the mobster - not the kind to leave a paper trial when it came to income - was making a lot of money.




It was Gates, the defense said, who was supposed to keep track of the money Manafort earned. "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do".

The trial is expected to last several weeks. Gates also worked on the Trump campaign.

The prosecution said in court it is moving ahead of schedule and intends to rest its case sometime next week.

The question of collusion with Russian Federation is not at the heart of the case against Manafort.

But Zehnle said there was no evidence that Manafort ever meant to deceive the IRS.

Katzman and Wall both said they received wire transfers from accounts held by Cypress-based companies, including Leviathan Advisors Limited, and that the payments were applied to Manafort's invoices.

The judge's testiness also revealed itself when he complained about the unpronounceable names on the suits Manafort wore-"If it doesn't say Men's Wearhouse, I don't buy it."-and when he reprimanded attorneys for rollings their eyes at him".

He faces a second trial in September on conspiracy charges. It involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the US government.

Zehnle appeared to be aiming to undermine the credibility of Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.

Mueller has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, including 12 people court documents described as Russian intelligence agents who hacked into Democratic Party computer networks.

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