Judge raps prosecutors over testimony on Manafort's luxuries

Manafort trial poses first courtroom test for Mueller

Manafort trial poses first courtroom test for Mueller

"Counterintelligence officers say the duo's banking activity could provide a road map of back channels to powerful American entities such as the National Rifle Association, and information about the Kremlin's attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election".

The question of collusion with Russian Federation is not at the heart of the case against Manafort - the charges largely pre-date the five months he worked for Trump during a pivotal period in the 2016 race for the White House, some of them as campaign chairman. He denies the charges.

The searches described by agent Matthew Mikuska found expensively tailored suits and documents related to other luxury items allegedly bought by Manafort, including two silk rugs bought for $160,000 paid from offshore accounts. Eight of the 12 jurors are white. But Manafort's lawyers appear intent on turning the tables on Gates and make him the main culprit in the affair.

Nine potential jurors indicated they have connections to the Justice Department, including four who said they were current or former federal employees.

Pres. Trump derides previous administrations for not telling him about Paul Manafort's alleged crimes before he hired him to run his 2016 campaign.

"You know who you are going to call", He said.

The trial, decided by a jury of 6 men and 6 women who were seated after a brief selection process Tuesday, is expected to last several weeks. "This trial obviously centers on matters that have nothing to do with the campaign".

Asonye said Manafort created "bogus" loans, falsified documents and lied to his tax preparer and bookkeeper to hide the money, which he obtained from Ukrainian oligarchs through a series of shell company transfers and later from fraudulently obtained bank loans in the U.S.

Trump denies any campaign collusion with Russian Federation, and on Tuesday tried to make the case publicly that collusion would not be a crime anyway.

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Mueller's prosecutors named Gates on their list of potential witnesses ahead of Manafort's trial, indicating that he was expected to play a central role in the prosecutor's case against his former boss.

Testimony is expected to continue after the morning recess. Asonye said Manafort lied also to his own bookkeepers to avoid paying taxes, and he lied to banks in an effort to qualify for loans he wouldn't otherwise have been approved for.

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.

Gates and Manafort worked closely together for years, including in Ukraine, and they were indicted at the same time by Mueller.

Tuesday's ruling from a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous.

Rick Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort, departs Federal District Court, Feb. 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Manafort has spent the past month in prison in Alexandria outside Washington after having his house arrest and $10 million bail revoked by a federal judge for allegedly tampering with witnesses in another pending case.

In brief testimony, the controller of a Mercedes Benz dealership in Alexandria, Virginia, described Manafort purchasing a auto using a wire transfer to pay the balance due, after a trade in, of $62,750.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump. Providing the jury with plausible alternatives for why Manafort's money was illegally hidden - such as Gates going behind Manafort's back to embezzle money from him - could plant more seeds of doubt.

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