Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Paul Manafort made more than $60 million in Ukraine, prosecutors say

Tad Devine in New York in 2016. He was chief political strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders, during the 2016 presidential race Tad Devine in New York in 2016. He was chief political strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders, during the 2016 presidential race
Andrew Cummings | 31 July, 2018, 13:56

Union targets AT&T over job losses MORE earned more than $60 million working for Russian-backed Ukraine politicians, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE said in a new court filing Monday. And there's always the possibility that Manafort could take a plea deal during the trial if his defense falls apart, opting for a lighter sentence in exchange of telling Mueller's team anything he may know about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

He said Trump could help the public understand what is at stake in Mueller's investigation, which both Trump and Caputo have called a "witch hunt" aimed at ending his presidency.

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. They took dozens of hanging file folders, bank statements, discs, memory cards and computer hard drives, and a watch worth several thousand dollars from the design house Bijan - much of that evidence will be on display for the jury.

Paul Manafort poses for a mugshot photo at the Alexandria Detention Center in Alexandria, Virgina.

But the judges presiding over the two cases ruled that they could proceed. At one point, his defence lawyers sued Mueller and the Justice Department, saying they had overstepped their bounds by bringing a prosecution untethered to the core questions of Mueller's investigation - whether Russian Federation worked with the Trump campaign to tip the election.

Prosecutors say Gates and Manafort earned millions lobbying Washington and other Western capitals on behalf of Ukraine, and that the pair "engaged in a scheme to hide income from the United States authorities".

Manafort then used that money to fund what the government terms his "lavish lifestyle" including the purchase of luxury cars. But when the special counsel hit the two men with a second indictment in February, Gates pleaded guilty to two lesser counts in exchange for cooperation.

"The defense doesn't want to be prejudiced by association with Trump", Wisenberg opined.

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Mueller has released a list of 35 potential witnesses he could call to the stand, including Gates, who is now a key co-operating witness in Mueller's investigation.

As president, Trump has downplayed Manafort's role in the campaign.

The filing was made in response to Mr. Manafort's efforts to prevent jurors from seeing more than 50 trial exhibits related to his political consulting work in the Ukraine between 2005 and 2014.

Gates was at Manafort's side from the beginning of that work.

Little's theory is Manafort may be hoping Trump will pardon him, "and just wants to delay, delay, delay until Trump feels comfortable doing that". The defense had anxious voters in Northern Virginia leaned more Democratic than in the western part of the state in 2016, but the Reagan-appointed judge said that was not the standard to assess whether a defendant could receive a fair trial.

The judge overseeing that trial, Berman Jackson, revoked Manafort's bail last month and ordered him to await trial from a jail cell. He also faces an allegation of witness tampering.

When Mueller initially filed charges - which came first in an indictment handed down in October by a grand jury in D.C. - Gates seemed ready to fight the case.

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