Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Manafort trial opens with fiery charges from both sides

Manafort trial opens with fiery charges from both sides

And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Mr 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. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

Chamber says helping all sectors hit by tariffs would cost B Giuliani rejects purported Cohen claim of second Trump Tower meeting MORE opened more than 30 overseas bank accounts to try and hide his earnings from lobbying work in Ukraine. He is seeking to keep jurors from hearing details of his years of work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is irrelevant and prejudicial. Testimony is likely to begin Tuesday afternoon.

Manafort ran Trump's campaign for five months in the spring of 2016.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The charges carry a maximum combined sentence of 305 years in prison.

Paul Manafort will have his day in court this week.

Over the next three weeks a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to hear descriptions of his lavish lifestyle and Cypriot shell companies, his ties with Ukrainian oligarchs, and allegedly fraudulent property deals created to deceive the United States tax authorities.

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

Short of an acquittal, the best hope for Manafort to avoid jail time remains a presidential pardon. Investigators have since looked into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

It's the first trial to result from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation. Trump has denied any collusion took place.

But Manafort doesn't appear to have "valuable enough information to make these charges go away altogether", Griffin said.

Nine potential jurors indicated they have connections to the Justice Department, including four who said they were current or former federal employees.

A federal judge dismissed the civil case and Manafort appealed the decision to a higher court.

He said Manafort had especially relied on Rick Gates, his business associate and now the prosecution's star witness, but that trust was misplaced. Three other aides, including Manafort's longtime business partner Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with Mueller's probe. "He could expose himself to further criminal culpability if he has to expose the full extent of those ties".

Ellis had given the pool of 65 potential jurors an overview of the charges against Manafort, though he reminded the group that the indictment "is not evidence of any guilt whatsoever".

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.

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