What are the charges against Paul Manafort?

Aug 02, 2018, 02:08
What are the charges against Paul Manafort?

It is the first trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA presidential election. "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders", Mr. Trump tweeted.

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

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Monday gave up his effort to challenge special counsel Robert Mueller in civil court.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. "Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One, ' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing?"

Testimony in the trial is expected to start Tuesday afternoon.

The trial of President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman will open this week with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into the political consultant's pocket.

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He said that Manafort had especially relied on Rick Gates, his business associate and now the prosecution's star witness, but that that trust was misplaced.

Manafort faces 18 counts.

Manafort's attorney Thomas Zehnle painted a drastically different portrait of Manafort, calling him a successful political consultant of 40 years who left the day-to-day operations of his company to his former associate Rick Gates, who betrayed him.

Accused Russian spy Mariia Butina didn't exactly hide her purported ties to the Kremlin over the past two years, when she was a graduate student at American University, and she openly bragged about connecting President Trump's campaign with Russia's government. Having his former campaign chairman, who helped run Trump's campaign at a critical point of the election, in the news so consistently shines a negative light on him. While many in the courtroom laughed, including Manafort's lawyers, the defendant himself did not.

The prosecutors are trying to paint a picture of Manafort for the jury that he is a man consumed by money, a man who would willingly and knowingly lie on IRS documents to circumvent taxes and keep more of that money. Five witnesses were granted immunity. Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: "This would be a very bad thing to do now".

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The unsuccessful civil lawsuit sought, among other things, to prevent Mueller from bringing additional charges in the future, including potential charges relating to Manafort's work on the Trump campaign. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has made a decision to pivot to claim collusion isn't a crime.

Manafort's defense strategy is still unknown. Previously, he tried to challenge Mueller's prosecutorial authority, a move that included filing a civil lawsuit against the Justice Department.

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

Lawyers for the special counsel have, however, said that "the government does not intend to present at trial evidence or argument concerning collusion with the Russian government".

At the same time, Mueller's team continues to press the president's legal team for an interview with the commander in chief.

Prosecutors are expected to say that his life of luxury did not match what he had declared on his tax returns.

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