Prosecutors Tell Jury Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Manafort Hid Wealth

Prosecutors Tell Jury Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Manafort Hid Wealth

Prosecutors Tell Jury Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Manafort Hid Wealth

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump. A judge said Gates faces between 57 and 71 months in prison for his offenses, though his sentence depends on the extent to which he cooperates with investigators. Zehnle told jurors that Manafort "rendered a valuable service to our system of government" because of his involvement in multiple presidential campaigns.

Prosecutors have portrayed Manafort as a tax cheat who hid money in offshore accounts, and lied to borrow millions more against real estate in a bid to maintain an extravagant lifestyle once the work dried up.

Manafort faces 18 criminal counts, which centre on allegations that he hid much of the $60 million he earned in Ukraine in undisclosed overseas bank accounts and failed to pay taxes on it.

Or will special counsel Robert Mueller be handed a defeat in his team's first trial since his appointment more than a year ago?

The trial is the first arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation. At one point, prosecutor Uzo Asonye said it was possible the star witness in the case, Manafort's former right-hand man Rick Gates, may not be needed to testify, although that was met with some skepticism in the courtroom.

"It seems to me we're seeing deeper ties that Manafort has had financially with his business deals in the Ukraine and with Russian Federation", said Shanlon Wu, a former lawyer for Manafort associate Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and is aiding Mueller's probe. But federal judges overseeing both cases have upheld Mueller's authority to investigate and prosecute Manafort.

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

Before joining Mr Trump's team in summer 2016, Paul Manafort had worked on a number of Republican presidential campaigns, including those of Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s and Ronald Reagan from 1978 to 1980. "Manafort placed himself and his money over the law".

What's likely to be missing: answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election, or really any mention of Russian Federation at all.

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

By midday, a jury of six women and six men, with four alternates, was in place. He says agents spotted Manafort inside after they entered.

Ellis' comments on the second day of Manafort's trial weren't made in front of the jury.

Prosecutors are seeking to provide details of Manafort's work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, raising the possibility that new information about his Russian connections could emerge. They hope to prevent jurors from seeing some documents and photos from Manafort's lobbying work in Ukraine. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III will try to weed out potential prejudice in what has become a highly publicized and politically divisive investigation. While many in the courtroom laughed, including Manafort's lawyers, the defendant himself did not. Jury selection begins Tuesday.

Mr Trump has expressed sympathy for Mr Manafort since the charges were laid, calling him a "nice guy".

Two officials said the White House had one strategy above all at the outset of Manafort's trial: Distance Trump from his former campaign chairman and downplay the legal proceedings underway in Alexandria, Virginia.

He is scheduled to go on trial in the United States capital in September on separate charges brought by Mueller of conspiracy, money laundering and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

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