Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

What you need to know before Paul Manafort’s trial

What you need to know before Paul Manafort’s trial

The case against Manafort, brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Eastern District of Virginia, is focused exclusively on allegations that the former Trump adviser had committed a range of financial crimes, from tax evasion to bank fraud, that have no direct tie to his campaign work. Mueller's original mandate was to investigate not only potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, but also any other crimes arising from the probe.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Manafort's lavish spending on suits, homes and luxury items did not match the income declared on his tax returns and that he misled lenders when he borrowed tens of millions of dollars against NY real estate.

None said they knew Manafort, his lawyers or their law firms.

And there's always the possibility that Manafort could take a plea deal during the trial if his defense falls apart, opting for a lighter sentence in exchange of telling Mueller's team anything he may know about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

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

"Hearing the voice of so many Americans who felt unrepresented by our government, Paul helped to define Donald Trump's core beliefs and, along with other remarkably talented individuals, they achieved what is believed to be one of the greatest victories in the annals of any presidential campaign", the defense fund site said.

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After that, it was Team Manafort's turn to speak, and they made it quite clear that former deputy Trump campaign chairman Rick Gates is the person who is really at fault here.

He warned jurors that Gates could not be trusted and was the type of witness who would say anything he could to save himself from a lengthy prison sentence and a crippling financial penalty.

Among them is former Manafort associate Rick Gates, who in February pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators.

Although the case against Manafort has little to do with his time running the president's campaign, it will give the public its most detailed glimpse of evidence Mueller's team has spent the year accumulating.

Yesterday, prosecutors said in court filings that they intend to prove that Mr Manafort earned more than $60m (€51m) lobbying for the former pro-Russia Ukrainian government and failed to report "a significant percentage" of that.

Already, Judge T.S. Ellis III has confronted questions about whether prospective jurors can be impartial in the highly charged case.

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Mueller has submitted more than 500 pieces of evidence, including tax filings and mortgage statements, and pictures of Manafort's expensive watches and homes. It is expected to last several weeks.

Manafort is also charged in federal court in Washington with undisclosed foreign lobbying and money laundering. Some documents are necessary to show Manafort's connections with those consultants, prosecutors say. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Manafort, 69, played an active role in the selection process, jotting down notes and chatting with his lawyers during questioning of the prospective panelists in federal court.

Instead, the trial will centre on Manafort's Ukrainian consulting work and only briefly touch on his involvement with the president's campaign.

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

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