Trial Begins for Trump’s Ex-Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort

01 August, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Manafort trial poses first courtroom test for Mueller

The highly-publicized trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one figure involved in the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation, started in Virginia Tuesday as attorneys began jury selection. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Prosecutors have lined up 35 witnesses and more than 500 pieces of evidence they say will show how Manafort earned more than $60 million (U.S.) from his Ukrainian work and then concealed a "significant percentage" of that money from the IRS.

The filing was made in response to Mr. Manafort's efforts to prevent jurors from seeing more than 50 trial exhibits related to his political consulting work in the Ukraine between 2005 and 2014.

According to prosecutor Greg Andres, "We don't intend to mention alleged collusion with the Russians", adding "a very small portion of the trial" will mention collusion - but only in connection to the government's claim that Manafort traded on his relationship to Trump to obtain foreign bank loans.

"Paul Manafort traveled in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said.

A total of 16 jurors, 12 regular and four alternates, will be chosen after being screened for potential bias.

Given the strength of the evidence, however, some legal experts have suggested Mr Manafort may be banking on an eventual pardon from Mr Trump, who has called his former campaign chairman a "nice guy" who has been treated unfairly.

ALEXANDRIA, VA -Delivering his opening statement at the Virginia trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, his defense attorney targeted Manafort's longtime business deputy Rick Gates for allegedly "abusing" Manafort's trust and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from his former employer.

Manafort, who was wearing a dark blue suit in place of his jail outfit, was watching in the courtroom nearby as jurors were handed the proper forms. But in February, Gates agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators.

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Manafort lived an "extravagant lifestyle" fueled by millions of dollars in "secret income" that he earned from his lobbying in Ukraine, said Uzo Asonye, a prosecutor working on the case with special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Manafort is also charged in federal court in Washington with undisclosed foreign lobbying and money laundering. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

Manafort's bail was revoked in June while he was on house arrest, after prosecutors accused him of tampering with witnesses.

Manafort actively conferred with his lawyers during the jury selection process, writing and passing notes.

"When a prosecutor looks into those dealings and uncovers evidence of criminal culpability", said Stanford law professor David Alan Sklansky, "it doesn't make sense to ask him to avert his eyes".

Ellis said he thinks "the government's correct" in using the documents to broadly show how Manafort made his money. That leaves Manafort, 69, facing charges that could keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.

He faces additional charges in district court in Washington DC.

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