Paul Manafort’s trial is a test for special counsel Robert Mueller
31 July, 2018, 15:39 | Author: Lucy Floyd
But what is expected to be missing from the trial, which begins on Tuesday (US time), will be answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election or any mention of Russian Federation at all.
Manafort is also facing charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering and making false statements, but those will be heard in a second trial, scheduled for September in Washington, D.C.
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's expected to be rich with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into Manafort's pocket. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. "With a northern Virginia jury, they know they may not be kindly disposed to the president".
Manafort is charged with lying on tax forms and bank fraud. And they won't learn that Manafort's co-defendant in the Washington case is a business associate named Konstantin Kilimnik, who lives in Russia and who USA authorities assert has connections to Russian intelligence. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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The luxurious lifestyle was funded by Manafort's political consulting for the pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed as Ukraine's president in 2014.
"As a close business associate of Manafort, Gates can serve as a sort of narrator to help the jury understand the significance of these documents", Barbara McQuade, a former US attorney said in an email to TPM, pointing to the number of email exchanges including Gates that are referenced in Mueller's exhibit list.
Manafort, a veteran Republican political consultant, served as chairman of Trump's presidential election campaign for three months in 2016 before being forced to step down amid questions about his lobbying work in Ukraine.
Mr Manafort took over as chairman of the Trump campaign in May 2016 and aimed to present a more thoughtful candidate, who stuck to scripts instead of ad-libbing in campaign rallies.
"As explained at the hearing, the government expects to prove that Manafort earned more than $60 million dollars from Ukraine during the period at issue and failed to report, a significant percentage of it on his tax returns", prosecutors wrote.
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He faces two criminal trials, the first in Alexandria, Virginia, and another later in Washington.
The trial is expected to drag on for at least three weeks, with jury selection for the case beginning on Tuesday.
Prosecutors also claimed Mr. Manafort's motion was overly broad.
Manafort has spent the past month in prison in Alexandria outside Washington after having his house arrest and $10 million bail revoked by a federal judge for allegedly tampering with witnesses in another pending case.
That same month, Jay Sekulow, another member of Trump's legal team, told The New Yorker that "there is no crime of collusion". We hear Trump say "pay with cash", we hear Cohen saying "no no no", someone says "check", and the thing suddenly ends.
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