Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Manafort's lawyers blame Gates in bank fraud trial

Manafort's lawyers blame Gates in bank fraud trial

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.

After several hours of discussions with individual jurors, prosecutors from the special counsel's office and lawyers for Mr. Manafort rejected about 20 potential jurors.

Manafort's attorneys described their client as a talented consultant who made it to the pinnacle of US politics and on the global stage.

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

"A man in this courtroom believed the law did not apply to him".

It is the first trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The special counsel has enlisted as many as 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort. Ellis said the trial would move immediately to opening statements after a lunch recess.

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He's the only American charged in the Mueller probe to opt for a trial. Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation, and on Tuesday tried to make the case publicly that collusion would not be a crime anyway.

They said he did not wilfully mislead or deceive the Internal Revenue Service, and that he was betrayed by Gates, who pleaded guilty to making false statements after being indicted by Mueller.

As first days go, it was a busy one in the federal trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Trump is trying to distance himself from Manafort, who led Trump's efforts to secure the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Ellis rejected Mr. Manafort's request to bar prosecutors' use of about 50 documents from Mr. Manafort's years of consulting work in Ukraine.

Just before 2 p.m., prosecutors and defense attorneys finalized the twelve men and women who will serve as jurors, as well as four alternates.

"Paul Manafort shouldn't be here", he added. Asonye described how Manafort snapped up expensive real estate in the United States, spent millions of dollars on renovating his properties and more than a half million dollars on "fancy clothes".

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Three other former Trump aides, including Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with Mueller's probe. He is seeking to keep jurors from hearing details of his years of work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is irrelevant and prejudicial.

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.

None said they knew Manafort, his lawyers or their law firms.

Manafort, 69, played an active role in the selection process, jotting down notes and chatting with his lawyers during questioning of the prospective panelists in federal court. But it ultimately said this wasn't enough to look past Manafort's conduct and set him free from jail.

It may not be about Russian Federation, but it will be held in the shadow of the collusion controversy that's long loomed over the White House.

Manafort has used similar arguments to challenge his indictments in Virginia and Washington.

The Manafort charges do not relate to allegations of Russian meddling or collusion with Trump figures in the 2016 campaign, but rather focus on allegations that Manafort cheated on his taxes and engaged in other fraudulent activity.

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