Trial begins for Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort

AFP Contributor  AFP

It's the first trial arising from Mr Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

It's a day that featured testimony from five witnesses - including Sen.

"The charges against defendant are meant to induce defendant to cooperate with the special counsel by providing evidence against the president or other members of the campaign", Ellis wrote in June, rejecting Manafort's challenge to Mueller's legitimacy.

If convicted on all 18 counts, Manafort could receive 305 years in prison.

I'll say it loud for the people in the back: THIS IS A TAX EVASION AND BANK FRAUD TRIAL.

That's a "very common defense in white-collar cases", Cotter said. In one case, Manafort even purchased a $15,000 jacket "made from an ostrich".

While prosecutors are not expected to address the question of possible collusion between Trump and Russia, Manafort's case is widely viewed as a test to the legitimacy of Mueller's ongoing probe, which Trump has dismissed as a "witch hunt". His comments come as Manafort's trial enters its second day of proceedings. "Where is the Russian Collusion?"

The trial, starting with selection of a 12-member jury, coincides with growing speculation that Mr Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen may co-operate with federal investigators against the president.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current "antipathy" toward Russia and how "most people in this country don't distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians".

But assistant U.S. attorney Uzo Asonye said of Gates: "He may testify, he may not". "We're trying to shorten the trial". Mr Manafort denies the charges, which are unrelated...

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Before the start of jury selection Tuesday, prosecutors filed an expanded list of its evidence exhibits, including several email chains between Manafort and Stephen Calk, the Chicago bank chairman.

"Rick Gates had his hands in the cookie jar and he didn't want his boss to find out", defense lawyer Thomas Zehnle told the court during his opening statement on Tuesday, accusing Gates of being "willing to say anything to save himself". Gates embezzled money from Manafort. Manafort's wife, Kathleen, was sitting behind him in the courtroom.

But that strategy was at odds with what was happening behind the scenes, the officials said.

"Manafort has remained loyal", he said.

In most tax fraud trials, pomp and theatrics don't usually sway a jury on whether the defendant is guilty or not. "That's what you really have difficulty, as a defense attorney, combatting". Asonye said the evidence would show he lied to the Internal Revenue Service.

He urged them, in closing, to "keep an open mind".

Ellis said there are invoices to show that, and that the photos were not necessary. "They're going to tell the story chronologically of how it all happened".

None said they knew Manafort, his lawyers or their law firms. "It's evidence of his income". "They've got one song".

Butina is accused of working with an American consultant, believed to be Erickson, on a covert Kremlin influence campaign to further Russia's interest in the U.S.by cultivating ties to prominent conservative groups, including the NRA. That's roughly half the amount of time the prosecutors originally said the trial would take. All affirmed that they could handle the case without any bias.

Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine.

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