Expected star witness may not testify in Trump ex-aide Manafort's trial

02 August, 2018, 06:34 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Mueller Lists 35 Potential Witnesses For Manafort's First Trial

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Monday gave up his effort to challenge special counsel Robert Mueller in civil court. He's charged with one count for each year.

The trial of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has almost completed its second day in a federal court in the state of Virginia as Trump called on his attorney general to shut down the related probe of Russian election meddling.

"Of course, there will be no evidence about that", the judge added, and said that oligarchs are merely rich people.

"Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation", Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Manafort's consulting work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine that earned him $60 million also took the spotlight in testimony in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington.

Manafort's attorneys have argued that Gates - who has been cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice - embezzled money from Manafort and then turned against him to save himself from jail time.

His current legal woes will not address Mr. Manafort's possible involvement in Russian collusion, but is seen by some as an attempt to get Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman to flip and work with Mr. Mueller.

This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of USA district Judge T.S Ellis III, center rear, and the selected jury, seated left, during the jury selection of his trial at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Mr Mueller was appointed by the US Justice Department a year ago to take over an FBI investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and whether there was unlawful coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

He said he would not tolerate any pictures of Manafort and others "at a cocktail party with scantily clad women", if they exist.

While Cotter cautioned it's "potentially misleading to try and draw too much of a conclusion from any one piece of evidence" in the trial, he thinks Manafort's defense has a "very low likelihood of success".


This drew a rebuke from Judge T.S. Ellis who has repeatedly objected to the prosecution's focus on Manafort's wealth and spending habits.

A defense lawyer painted a drastically different portrait of Manafort and made clear he will go after one of the government's star witnesses, former Manafort associate Rick Gates.

After the judge asked Asonye for a clarification, Asonye said prosecutors are constantly evaluating the need to call a particular witness and his comments were "not to suggest we are not calling him".

"Money's coming in fast". Gates also worked as an aide on Trump's campaign.

"Mr. Manafort is not on trial for having a lavish lifestyle", Ellis said.

He warned jurors not to believe Gates when he testifies against Manafort. "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do".

Dennis Raico and James Brennan worked at Federal Savings Bank, a Chicago lender that extended Manafort $16 million in loans against his NY real estate holdings.

Gates, a longtime Manafort deputy who also worked in a senior role in the Trump campaign, had initially been charged alongside Manafort, but in February announced he would plead guilty to charges of conspiracy against the USA and lying to federal authorities.

This trove includes what appears to be the $15,000 jacket made of Ostrich that was referenced by the prosecution in opening statements Tuesday. It involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the US government.

Mueller, appointed in May 2017 to his current post, has been running a wide-ranging inquiry that has charged 32 people, including 26 Russians, and others in Trump's campaign orbit.

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