Mueller Team Noncommittal On Whether Rick Gates Will Testify In Manafort Trial

01 August, 2018, 21:05 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Paul Manafort’s first trial begins this week Here’s what to expect

This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of USA district Judge T.S Ellis III, and the jury during the jury selection of his trial in Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2018.

"In each of these cases, the evidence will show that Paul Manafort placed himself and his money above the law", said prosecutor Uzo Asonye.

As the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort moved into its second day on Wednesday, Trump called for an end to a special counsel's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election that spawned the charges.

The judge in the trial of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is telling prosecutors not to use the word "oligarch" to describe wealthy Ukrainians who paid millions to Manafort for his work as an global political consultant.

Manafort's defense team countered by pointing a finger at the prosecution's star witness - and Manafort's former deputy - Richard Gates.

Attorney Thomas Zehnle said in his opening statement Tuesday that Manafort trusted others to keep track of the millions of dollars he was earning from his Ukrainian political work.

Lawyers for Manafort countered by painting Manafort as a victim of his employees, including former colleague Rick Gates, who is cooperating with Mueller's probe.

The appellate judges said Manafort was rightfully jailed because he had decided "to push the envelope by contributing to an op-ed in a foreign newspaper" while under a gag order, and also had "repeated communications with potential witnesses" for his upcoming trial.

At the centre of all this will be another Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, who spent years working for Manafort in Ukraine and is also accused of helping him falsify paperwork used to obtain the bank loans.

As campaign manager, Manafort was responsible for all aspects of Trump's White House bid, including shoring up delegate support.

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He said Mr Trump could help the public understand what is at stake in Mr Mueller's investigation, which both Mr Trump and Mr Caputo have called a "witch hunt" aimed at ending his presidency.

On Tuesday Trump tweeted that "collusion is not a crime", as the trial kicked off.

Asonye said Manafort didn't just lie to the Internal Revenue Service. He says agents spotted Manafort inside after they entered.

A jury of six men and six women was selected earlier Tuesday, along with four alternate jurors.

Manafort has a second trial scheduled for September in the District of Columbia.

Mueller's team says Manafort's position in the Trump campaign is relevant to some of the bank fraud charges.

Prosecutors have said they will not present evidence of collusion at this trial.

Under government questioning, Devine described Manafort as a man very much the hands-on boss in their Ukraine work, testifying that "Paul was in charge" of business operations. But Butina also appeared to have had a broader mission, The Daily Beast reports, detailing an encounter in which Butina urged legendary US financial executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg to pour more money into the secretly insolvent Russian bank Investtorgbank, leaving observers "shocked and disturbed" at her audacity.

Joshua Dressler, a law professor at Ohio State University, said the evidence against Mr Manafort (69) appears strong, but that he drew a favourable judge in the 78-year old TS Ellis, who is known to be tough on prosecutors, and said the politically charged climate increases the chances of a hung jury.

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