Prosecutors advise witnesses in Manafort trial: Avoid the T-word

Aug 01, 2018, 00:34
Prosecutors advise witnesses in Manafort trial: Avoid the T-word

Zehnle accused Gates of having an "evolving" story about his dealings with Manafort, and pointed out that as part of his plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the prosecutors during plea negotiations.

A lawyer for Paul Manafort says the former Trump campaign chairman never meant to deceive USA authorities about his income or his foreign bank accounts.

Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday morning.

Gates was named as a co-defendant in the initial indictment handed down against Manafort last October.

But Mr Manafort quickly faced allegations that he had not disclosed millions of dollars he received for consultancy work he carried out in Ukraine for its then pro-Russian president.

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The trial in a Virginia federal court represents the first test of Mr Mueller's ability to win a conviction of a former aide of President Trump. The evidence will also demonstrate that he was paid through foreign accounts, they said.

It's what may not come up much during the trial in Alexandria, Va., that will draw attention from all over the world: Manafort's work for candidate Donald Trump for a critical period in 2016 when Trump clinched the Republican nomination for president.

In addition to jury selection, Tuesday morning included a hearing regarding a motion to block Ukraine-related documents from being introduced as evidence at the trial.

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters displayed a life-sized puppet of Trump and held signs saying "Trump won't do time for you", "It's Mueller time", and "I like your new suit" alongside a photo of Manafort's mug shot. But he was ensnared in the Russian Federation investigation previous year after Mueller began examining ties between Trump campaign staff and Russian Federation.

In recent months, prosecutors in Mueller's office have produced detailed indictments charging at least Russian 25 individuals and three Russian companies with crimes related to election interference, including hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, money laundering and stealing USA citizen's identities.

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Attorney Thomas Zehnle said in his opening statement Tuesday that Manafort trusted others to keep track of the millions of dollars he was earning from his Ukrainian political work.

As for Mueller's bank fraud allegations, Zehnle said that Manafort was "open" with the outside professionals who helped to facilitate loans, about why he was seeking the money and what he planned to spend it on. An acquittal would support efforts by Trump and his allies to portray the probe as a "witch hunt".

President Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation, and today tried to make the case publicly that collusion would not be a crime anyway.

Manafort also faces a second trial in Washington, DC, where Mueller plans to prosecute him on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

"On top of that", he added, "the government will bring forth the coup de grace" with incriminating testimony by Gates, Manafort's former business partner.

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