All eyes on Virginia court as Paul Manafort's fraud trial begins
Aug 02 2018
Paul Manafort spent over $1.5 million on custom suits and bespoke clothing between 2010 and 2014, often paying by foreign bank wire transfers, two luxury menswear retailers told a federal court in Virginia on Wednesday. "Paul Manafort knew about the law". His defense attorneys say he isn't to blame because he left the details of his finances to others. Mr Manafort denies the charges, which are unrelated... Further, he cautioned that using it could suggest Manafort is associated with bad people - and guilty by association.
Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chair, was sent to jail pending a trial after his bail was revoked.
Pres. Trump speaks at an event in Tampa, Fla on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. "These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!"
"He may testify in this case, he may not", US prosecutor Uzo Asonye replied.
"A man in this courtroom believed the law did not apply to him", Asonye said, telling jurors of an extravagant lifestyle that included expensive rugs, real estate and a $15,000 "jacket made from an ostrich".
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. It opened amid unresolved questions about whether Trump associates coordinated with the Kremlin to tip the election in the president's favor.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who's hearing the case, ruled in June that the trial could move forward and that Mueller's team was working within its authority to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election in its prosecution of Manafort.
The tax and bank fraud trial represents the first test of Mueller's ability to win a conviction of a former Trump aide.
Prosecutors on Wednesday introduced into evidence dozens of business, loan and tax-preparation records seized previous year from the Virginia condominium owned by Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman now on trial on tax and bank-fraud charges.
Manafort is accused of trying to hide tens of millions of dollars in Ukrainian political consulting fees and using that money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
He said that Manafort had especially relied on Rick Gates, his business associate and now the prosecution's star witness, but that that trust was misplaced.
While the government has 35 witnesses, not all of them may be called.
"Money's coming in fast".
"The defense side is pointing to Gates.as they should", the former DOJ prosecutor said.
After a jury a of six men and six women was quickly selected, opening statements were made on Tuesday. "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". Devine testified that Manafort ran a tightly disciplined, professional campaign that contributed to his candidate's victory.
The trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on tax evasion and bank fraud charges got underway at a courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on Tuesday.
A "high percentage" of that was funnelled into offshore accounts and shell companies to evade taxes, Mr Mueller said in court documents.
"This is the way that they required it to be done", Zehnle said, arguing why oligarchs paid Manafort through secret foreign accounts.
Manafort, who is in custody, sat quietly with his defense lawyers. "We do not dispute that".
Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is also expected to play a key role in Manafort's second trial, scheduled for September.