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Trump following Manafort updates as trial kicks off

01 August 2018

In a shocking admission Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said Rick Gates may not testify in the trial of his former business partner Paul Manafort.

"In each of these cases, the evidence will show that Paul Manafort placed himself and his money above the law", said prosecutor Uzo Asonye.

Paul Manafort orchestrated a multi-million-dollar conspiracy to evade U.S. tax and banking laws, leaving behind a trail of lies as he lived a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors say as they lay out their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Manafort's defense team countered by pointing a finger at the prosecution's star witness - and Manafort's former deputy - Richard Gates.

"His trust in Rick Gates was misplaced", Zehnle said, alleging that Gates had embezzled millions of dollars from Manafort.

Gates was originally charged along with Manafort, but he eventually reached a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with the government.

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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. The nine bank fraud and conspiracy charges alone carry maximum sentences of 30 years each, and Ellis noted in April that Manafort could be facing the rest of his life behind bars if convicted.

Mueller's team said it would not present evidence at the trial in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, about possible campaign collusion with Russian Federation, potentially saving it for a second Manafort trial in Washington in September.

Prosecutors also questioned FBI Special Agent Matthew Mikuska, an 11-year veteran of the agency who executed a search warrant on Manafort's Alexandria condominium last year.

Both men were top officials in Trump's campaign, but that is not part of the criminal case against Manafort in this trial. Prosecutors are not expected to address the question of collusion, but Manafort's case is widely viewed as a test to the legitimacy of Mueller's probe, which Trump has called a "witch hunt".

"Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and "Public Enemy Number One", or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling", Trump wrote in a tweet.

Asonye said Manafort didn't just lie to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Six men and six women, along with four alternate jurors, were chosen on Tuesday.

Referring to the Manafort trial, Trump added, "These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!"

After several hours of discussions with individual jurors, prosecutors from the special counsel's office and lawyers for Mr. Manafort rejected about 20 potential jurors.

"I don't anticipate that a government witness will utter the word 'Russia,"' Andres said.

FILE - Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Prosecutors have said they will not present evidence of collusion at this trial. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.

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The charges stem from Manafort's activities from 2006-2017.

Trump following Manafort updates as trial kicks off