The Latest: Defense: Manafort trusted others to handle money
Jul. 31, 2018
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Paul Manafort's trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges (all times local):
A lawyer for Paul Manafort says the former Trump campaign chairman never intended to deceive U.S. authorities about his income or his foreign bank accounts.
Attorney Thomas Zehnle said in his opening statement Tuesday that Manafort trusted others to keep track of the millions of dollars he was earning from his Ukrainian political work.
He said Manafort had especially relied on Rick Gates, his business associate and now the prosecution's star witness, but that trust was misplaced.
He warned jurors not to believe Gates when he testifies against Manafort. Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Testimony in the trial is expected to start Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman orchestrated a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to evade U.S. tax and banking laws, leaving behind a trail of lies as he lived a lavish lifestyle.
The allegations came during opening statements Tuesday in the Paul Manafort trial. It's the first trial to stem from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye told the jury that Manafort considered himself above the law as he funneled tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts to pay for personal expenses such as a $21,000 watch and a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich.
The comments were the first volley in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial. It is expected to last several weeks.
A jury has been seated in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on tax evasion and bank fraud charges.
Six men and six women, along with four alternate jurors, were chosen on Tuesday. Opening statements were expected later in the afternoon.
Manafort, who is already in custody and could spend the rest of his life in jail, appeared in the federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, in a dark suit with his wife, Kathleen.
It's the first trial to result from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. 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."
Jury selection is underway in the trial of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
Dozens of jurors packed a federal courtroom Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, to face questions from a judge and lawyers about whether they can be fair and impartial.
The trial is the first arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. But that isn't a focus of this trial.
Manafort is accused of failing to report tens of millions of dollars in Ukrainian political consulting fees and using that money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Manafort, who is in custody, sat quietly with his defense lawyers. He was dressed in a suit, not jail attire.
Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
Paul Manafort will appear Tuesday in federal court in Virginia for the first trial arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Manafort is accused of concealing tens of millions of dollars in income from the IRS and fraudulently obtaining millions more in bank loans.
The trial will give the public the most detailed glimpse yet into a part of the Mueller investigation. It also comes as Trump and his lawyers have dialed up the intensity in their attacks on Mueller.
This is the first of two trials for Manafort. The second trial, scheduled for September in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests.