Manafort Readies For Explosive Tuesday Trial In $60 Million Russia Probe

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort, 69, will go on trial Tuesday, accused of bank and tax fraud by special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators. In a Monday court filing, Manafort is accused of earning more than $60 million as a political consultant in Ukraine, providing the first insight into income that he "failed to report a significant percentage of" on his tax returns, according to prosecutors. 

While the trial will focus on financial crimes that have nothing to do with Trump or his 2016 campaign, it should nonetheless provide fireworks as Manafort is accused of a wide variety of crimes, including laundering $30 million through offshore entities, doctoring financial documents, defrauding banks and lying to tax preparers - much of which was done while working for a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party along with lobbyist Tony Podesta. 

Manafort and Podesta made millions together in Ukraine without registering as foreign agents - except Podesta had the uncanny foresight to retroactively file as a foreign agent last April, while Manafort did not as noted in the original 12-count indictment handed down last October.

“My guess is you will see O.J.-type frenzy at this court event,” said Michael Caputo, a former Trump aide and longtime Manafort associate, referring to the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case. “I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case.” -Reuters

Caputo says that Trump's comments will help the public to understand what's at stake in the Mueller probe - which Trump and his supporters refer to as a "witch hunt" aimed at ending his presidency. 

The special counsel is planning to call 35 witnesses in the case, including his former right-hand man Rick Gates - Mueller's star witness who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller, is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness. He will guide jurors through bank records and other financial documents as prosecutors try to prove that Manafort earned millions of dollars as a political consultant in Ukraine, failed to disclose his income and offshore accounts to U.S. tax authorities and lied to lenders in borrowing $20 million. -Bloomberg

Another witness will be Bernie Sanders' chief strategist, Tad Devine, who worked with Manafort in Ukraine and revealed on Thursday that he is cooperating with Mueller's investigation after his name appeared in an itemized list of evidence in the Manafort trial on Wednesday. 

Manafort has pleaded not guilty in what has grown to an 18-count indictment. The nine bank fraud and conspiracy charges alone carry 30-year maximum sentences each, meaning a conviction could send Manafort behind bars for the rest of his life - an observation pointed out by Judge T.S. Ellis. 

While Ellis rejected Manafort's motion to dismiss due to the fact that the charges against him are outside the scope of Mueller's Russia investigation, the 78-year-old Judge is known to be tough on prosecutors, and has openly said that the politically charged climate increases the chance of a hung jury. 

Mueller's team - which says it will not present any evidence about possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, estimates that Manafort's trial could take 8 to 10 days to present its case to the jury, while the trial itself may last at least three weeks. And w​​​​hile Mueller won't broach potential Trump ties to Russia, prosecutors may dig deeper into Manafort's Russian connections - such as an alleged $10 million loan from Oleg Deripaska - a businessman known to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It seems to me we’re seeing deeper ties that Manafort has had financially with his business deals in the Ukraine and with Russia,” said Shanlon Wu, a former lawyer for Manafort associate Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and is aiding Mueller’s probe. “He could expose himself to further criminal culpability if he has to expose the full extent of those ties.” -Reuters

Pardon? 

Some legal experts have speculated that Manafort may be counting on an eventual pardon from President Trump - who has called his former aide and short-term campaign chairman a "nice guy" who has been treated unfairly. 

Manafort was fired within 48 hours of Trump's first national security briefing as a candidate, which suggests that he was informed of ongoing investigations against the lobbyist. 

Rudy Giuliani, while not ruling out a pardon, said that nobody facing trial should expect one. 

Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: “This would be a very bad thing to do now.”

But once Mueller’s Russia investigation ends, Giuliani told Reuters, “he has a right to consider it ... It’s his power.” -Reuters

Tomorrow's jury pool was narrowed from 73 to 43, with jury selection starting first thing in the morning.

Tags

Comments

Carl Spackler ThunderStruck Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:36 Permalink

Oh the fake news hoopla (so dramatic)...this story is nothing but chaff and countermeasures to create a fog of war.

Think logically. Manafort is a known crook (also part of the cabal), and these crimes occurred long BEFORE Trump entered the presidential race. None of it involved Trump.

Further, it involved UKRAINE and the Maidan fascists there (i.e., another Soros NWO onerthrow plot with that Victoria Nuland hag and the Podestas)... cabalists who opposed Russia/Putin.

So, what is the real evidence (i.e., financial transaction details) to come out from this trial?

How about a big boomerang coming right back at Clinton Foundation and the cabal?!

In reply to by ThunderStruck

BarkingCat shortonoil Mon, 07/30/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Mueller has no constitutional, thus legal, authority to do any of this.

US Constitution spells out how federal officers are appointed  in Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 2.

"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, ........, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for,....".

 

A federal prosecutor is considered an Officer of the United States, and goes through the normal process of being nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate.

Mueller is behaving like a federal prosecutor,  but one without any territorial limitations, so he is in fact functioning as if he is above that of federal prosecutors.

 

Rosenstein had no authority to give Mueller such a position. 

In fact Rosenstein is guilty of usurping the power of the president and senate.

In reply to by shortonoil

Lordflin Mon, 07/30/2018 - 11:33 Permalink

Don't have an opinion about this guy... but this is as corrupt a judicial system as has ever existed in the history of the human race...

chunga new game Mon, 07/30/2018 - 12:39 Permalink

Based on the past it is probable that you are right about that.

If they are not genuinely well into playing hardball (not talking but doing) by the mid-terms then it's time to look in another direction. I am not buying the story about waiting until after.

Even if it means nothing I am going with [I] just so my contempt is not mistaken for apathy. I have called and made this very clear and I continue to urge others to do the same.

In reply to by new game