Manafort Asks for Month to Turn in His Homework, Mueller Responds

Washington DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty last year to a 12-charge indict

Washington DC. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates both pleaded not guilty last year to a 12-charge indict

In court on Wednesday, prosecutor Greg Andres asked Rabin, who produced TV ads for Manafort in Ukraine, about Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner who is expected to be a star government witness, and Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik.

Jurors in federal court in Virginia heard opening statements from the prosecution and defence in Manafort's trial on charges that he hid tens of millions of dollars earned in Ukraine in offshore accounts and defrauded banks for loans.

Manafort is facing bank and tax fraud charges in the first trial brought forward in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort and a onetime senior Trump campaign aide, pleaded guilty in February to two felony counts: conspiracy against the USA and lying to federal authorities.

Manafort, the former chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, was jailed in mid-June on suspicions of witness tampering.

"This case is about taxes and trust", Manafort's attorney Thomas Zehnle told jurors in his opening statement.

Last week, Ellis granted Mueller's request to give immunity to five witnesses expected to testify at Manafort's trial, but denied prosecutors' request to protect their identities.

Manafort is facing 18 charges, including accusations of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts and defrauding several banks.

It's the first trial to stem from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation. Prosecutors, though, are recommending 8 years to 10 years.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump.

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. He was in the hot seat when Mr Trump eventually won the Republican nomination, and organised the Republican convention in July 2016. "It's a lot, and Paul Manafort trusted that Rick Gates was keeping track of it", Zehnle said.

Asonye, who described Manafort's "lavish lifestyle" in detail, alleged that Manafort held more than 30 bank accounts that "served no business objective other than to receive and hide income".

The opening day focused heavily on the defendant's lavish lifestyle, as prosecutors said he lied to put his money ahead of the law. That left a jury of 12 and four additional alternate jurors, who were sworn in as Mr. Manafort looked on wearing a dark suit.

It's the first of two trials Manafort will go through. Manafort became wealthy from the "cash spigot" that came from working for his "golden goose in Ukraine", former President Viktor Yanukovych, Asonye said. Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: "This would be a very bad thing to do now". The second trial, scheduled for September in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.

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