Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Pres. Trump blasts past administrations for Paul Manafort probe

Pres. Trump blasts past administrations for Paul Manafort probe

Numerous witnesses work for vendors who over the years provided luxury goods and services to the Manafort family, including designer suits, Land Rovers and home improvements.

More than 70 years after his death, Capone remains an nearly mythical figure. And he regularly paid for his extravagant expenses through worldwide wire transfers.

Prosecutors on Wednesday introduced into evidence dozens of business, loan and tax-preparation records seized previous year from the Virginia condominium owned by Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman now on trial on tax and bank-fraud charges.

Prosecutors provided the details to help establish Manafort's income and involvement in the payments. "It's a lot, and Paul Manafort trusted that Rick Gates was keeping track of it", Zehnle said.

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

"Not tax, not banking law", said Uzo Asonye, a member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team looking at possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians that is a focal point of Mueller's probe.

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Friday's tweet storm from the President included another denunciation of Mueller's investigation as "the rigged Witch Hunt". "By Cohen's account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources", CNN reported .

Eight witnesses testified during the second day of Manafort's federal court trial in Alexandria, Virginia, the first stemming from Mueller's 14-month investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 USA election. With electronic devices barred, those in the crowded federal courtroom didn't even see the tweets until a brief lunch break.

Mr. Trump emphasized that the charges against Mr. Manafort have nothing to do with possible collusion between Russians and Trump campaign officials, and he called the investigation "a hoax".

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters displayed a life-sized puppet of Trump and held signs saying, "Trump won't do time for you", "It's Mueller time", and "I like your new suit" alongside a photo of Manafort's mug shot.

In addition to the Katzman and Wall, the 12-member jury also heard testimony Wednesday from Daniel Rabin, a political consultant, and FBI Special Agent Matthew Mikuska, who was involved in executing a search warrant at Manafort's condo in Alexandria, Va. Between 2010 and 2012, Manafort spent $334,000 at the shop, which bills itself as "the world's most expensive store".

Manhattan's Alan Couture was the beneficiary of much of Manafort's spending. One witness, Maximillian Katzman, testified that Manafort spent more than $900,000 at his boutique retailer in NY.

Manafort, 69, faces 18 charges including tax fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy.

All this focus on Manafort's lavish spending drew the irritation of Judge T.S. Ellis III, who questioned how it proved the government's case that Manafort filed false tax returns. Prosecutors say he falsely indicated he didn't have bank accounts in foreign countries and underreported his earnings to limit his taxable income. The jury, the judge said, "can add".

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Later, in a discussion with CNN's "New Day," Giuliani said that if you "start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime". But its outcome is being watched closely since it is the first case brought by Mueller's legal team that has gone to trial.

Alphonse Capone, who spelled his name with a ph, not an F, and was best known as "Al" Capone, likely suffered a wee bit more than Manafort himself.

The government intends to show that Manafort funneled more than $60 million in proceeds from his Ukrainian political consulting through offshore accounts and hid a "significant" portion of it from the IRS.

"He may testify in this case, he may not", said prosecutor Uzo Asonye, a day after the defense made clear in opening statements to jurors that its strategy centered on discrediting Gates as an untruthful embezzler.

The other 31 people charged by Mueller so far have either pleaded guilty or are Russians seen as unlikely to enter an American courtroom.

As the high-profile first trial resulting from charges brought from the Mueller investigation, Tuesday's session was filled with about 80 onlookers sitting on wooden benches in the back of the room, a mix of journalists and curious civilians distinguishable only by whether they had a notebook in hand.

Asonye told Ellis Wednesday afternoon that prosecutors could rest their case as early as next week.

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It followed a surprise press conference at which he stunned observers by calling for voters to reject Zanu-PF, his former party. ZEC chief Priscilla Chigumba said the presidential result may not be ready until Saturday.

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