Key players in US case versus ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort

Posted August 02, 2018

Or will special counsel Robert Mueller be handed a defeat in his team's first trial since his appointment more than a year ago?

Mr. Trump emphasized that the charges against Mr. Manafort have nothing to do with possible collusion between Russians and Trump campaign officials, and he called the investigation "a hoax".

Earlier in the day, prosecutors and defense attorneys selected a 12-member jury to weigh Manafort's fate.

"Perhaps he believes that he's done nothing wrong, and because he's done nothing wrong, he's unwilling to plead guilty to any crime whatsoever - even if it's a lesser crime", said Jimmy Gurule, a Notre Dame law professor and former federal prosecutor.

Manafort faces charges in two different courts and could spend decades in prison if convicted.

Manafort arrived at the courthouse Tuesday morning wearing a black suit, with his hair neatly parted. But when they tried to submit into evidence photos of the suits, U.S. District Judge Judge T.S. Ellis III reprimanded them. He has also put distance between himself and Mr Manafort's charges, saying in a tweet: "This is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign".

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Asonye assured jurors Tuesday that the evidence will eventually show how Manafort "constantly issued orders" and "directed" the activities of his associates, including Gates.

Asonye said Manafort set up more than 30 bank accounts in overseas countries and funneled millions of dollars into them in order to bankroll an extravagant lifestyle.

I'll say it loud for the people in the back: THIS IS A TAX EVASION AND BANK FRAUD TRIAL.

He's the only American charged in the Mueller probe to opt for a trial.

Among the items recovered were invoices related to Manafort's work with Gates.

In describing the 18 counts facing Manafort, Asonye said that Manafort did not pay taxes on a large portion of the $60 million he earned working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, hid the income in a web of 30 overseas bank accounts, and lied to USA banks to borrow millions of dollars against his real estate holdings once the money from Ukraine dried up.

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Prosecutors also accuse him of lying to US banks to obtain real estate loans in a bid to maintain a lavish lifestyle after his client, former pro-Russia Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, fell from power in 2014 and the money stopped. Jury selection begins Tuesday.

Manafort spent more than $100,000 at the store in 2010, and more than $444,000 in 2013, according to Katzman.

Before joining Mr Trump's team in summer 2016, Paul Manafort had worked on a number of Republican presidential campaigns, including those of Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s and Ronald Reagan from 1978 to 1980. National security lawyer Bradley Moss discusses the latest developments.

Also of note today: Trump called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Mueller's special investigation.

The charges against Manafort largely pre-date his five months of work for the Trump campaign, some of them as campaign chairman. Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements after being indicted by Mueller. An acquittal would support efforts by Trump and his allies to portray the investigation as politically motivated to threaten his presidency.

"I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case".

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He is scheduled to go on trial in the USA capital in September on separate charges brought by Mueller of conspiracy, money laundering and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government. One witness, Maximillian Katzman, testified that Manafort spent more than $900,000 at his boutique retailer in NY.