Ex-Trump aide Manafort faces charges in first trial of Russian Federation probe
Aug 01 2018
But the broader implications are unmistakable.
But once Mueller's Russian Federation investigation ends, Giuliani told Reuters: "He has a right to consider it".
Trump has repeatedly denounced the special counsel's investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt" and denied there was any collusion with Moscow to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
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. One of those companies has pleaded not guilty and is fighting the allegations in federal court in Washington. "Obviously, that's very risky for him".
Manafort is charged with bank fraud and tax crimes. Three other aides, including Manafort's longtime business partner Rick Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are co-operating with Mueller's probe.
A conviction would give momentum to Mr Mueller, who has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies since the investigation started 14 months ago.
The Government intends to show that Mr Manafort funnelled more than $US60 million ($81 million) in proceeds from his Ukrainian political consulting through offshore accounts and hid a "significant" portion of it from tax collection authorities.
Jurors are expected to see photographs of his Mercedes-Benz and of his Hampton property putting green and swimming pool.
Prosecutors plan to produce almost three dozen witnesses during the trial, including Manafort's former associate Richard Gates, who is cooperating with the government after pleading guilty to lesser charges in February.
Lawyers have tangled over how much jurors will hear of his overseas political work, particularly about his ties to Russian Federation and other wealthy political figures.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis made a point to move the proceedings along as quickly as possible, appearing frustrated with the lawyers if it seemed that they were taking too long. Prosecutors said Tuesday that Manafort hid 30 foreign bank accounts from United States authorities.
Prosecutor Greg Andres reassured the judge that "there will be no pictures of scantily clad women, period", nor photographs of Russian flags.
"I don't anticipate that a government witness will utter the word 'Russia, ' " Andres said.
Mr Manafort faces a second trial in September on charges related to his lobbying work in Ukraine.
Gates was named as a co-defendant in the initial indictment handed down against Manafort last October.
But according to a new report from the Associated Press, they're likely to be disappointed as the trial will focus on Manafort's business dealings and lavish lifestyle, not collusion (bolding is mine).
The Trump administration has insisted that the charges against Manafort have nothing to do with the campaign.
The case has been called the first test of Mueller's investigation, but McCarthy said it's "really not".
Ellis rejected that argument despite having initially questioned the special counsel's motives for bringing the case.
The trial is not expected to reveal many new details about Manafort's time as the chairman of the Trump campaign, and prosecutors have said they are not planning to introduce any evidence suggesting coordination between the campaign and Russia's influence operations.
"What they claim is they looked at that conduct, is that the Justice Department did and opted not to prosecute him".