Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Star witness may or 'may not' testify in ex-Trump aide's trial

Star witness may or 'may not' testify in ex-Trump aide's trial

Prosecutors charged Manafort and his then-associate Rick Gates with two counts of bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud conspiracy for allegedly providing misleading information to secure two loans worth $16 million.

Manafort, the lone American charged by Mueller who has opted to stand trial instead of cooperate with prosecutors, was described by his defense lawyer as a hugely successful worldwide political consultant who left the details of his finances to others.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors were lectured by a federal judge Wednesday morning for the language they've used in the courtroom, as the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered its second day. Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker says Manafort seemed calm and prepared for the court proceedings.

Prosecutors say the evidence is also necessary to illustrate Manafort's relationship with the oligarchs who supported the Party of Regions and who paid him through foreign bank accounts.

In the pre-trial stage, Ellis had expressed skepticism of the prosecutors' tactics, accusing the team, which is led by special counsel Robert Mueller, of going after Manafort to get to Trump. Mueller was not present in the courtroom.

Paul Manafort, 69, who chaired the Trump campaign during the summer of 2016, was accused of putting "himself and his money above the law" by laundering tens of millions of dollars derived from pro-Moscow groups in Ukraine.

This drew a rebuke from Judge T.S. Ellis who has repeatedly objected to the prosecution's focus on Manafort's wealth and spending habits.

"Money's coming in fast".

Two Democratic consultants who worked with Manafort in Ukraine, Tad Devine and Daniel Rabin, are set to testify against him. "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do".

Gates pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation on "all matters" they deem relevant.

Joseph Parker suffers stunning first in heavyweight slugfest
They were taking the money my mum was sending and was telling me she wasn't sending anything. I'm going to break him down and he's going to take a lot of punches.


"I do not want a data dump", Ellis said, referring to a practice in which prosecutors submit so much evidence to the record that jurors do not see or hear about it until they are deliberating. The added evidence also appears to include documents related to bank accounts in Cyprus.

A "high percentage" of that was funnelled into offshore accounts and shell companies to evade taxes, Mr Mueller said in court documents. The indictment says he and Gates moved money from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to hide it from the Internal Revenue Service.

The trial is expected to take about three weeks. Asonye described how Manafort snapped up expensive real estate in the United States, spent millions of dollars on renovating his properties and more than a half million dollars on "fancy clothes". "We do not dispute that".

Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, claims Mr Manafort made $60 million from Ukrainian political figures.

"There was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!"

"Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation", Trump tweeted Wednesday.

A jury was seated by the afternoon. The pool of jurors will face questions from both sides, with Manafort's legal team smiling as they arrived.

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

His trial is expected to be lengthy.

In his opening statement Tuesday, Manafort attorney Thomas Zehnle made the defense team's strategy loud and clear: Gates, they will argue, was the "point person" for Manafort's finances. One of those companies has pleaded not guilty and is fighting the allegations in federal court in Washington.

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