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Judge raps prosecutors over testimony on Manafort's luxuries

02 August 2018

With the jury out of the room, the judge complained about prosecutors' efforts to show that Manafort's life was luxurious and blocked them from showing one document on home renovations.

A prosecutor showed Mikuska and the jury a series of invoices, including for home improvement work, that was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the August 2017 raid.

The judge in Manafort's trial told prosecutors not to use the word "oligarch" to describe wealthy Ukrainians who paid millions to the former Trump campaign chairman.

He cautioned them that the term could imply that Manafort was associating with "despicable people and therefore he's despicable".

"By the standard of a bootlegging mob boss whose outfit was responsible for multiple murders, you could argue that Capone got off pretty easy", said Jonathan Eig, the author of "Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster". "Why didn't the government tell me he was under investigation".

The defense signaled during their opening arguments on Monday that their strategy will be to try to pin the crimes on Manafort's deputy Rick Gates, so the prosecution laid out in detail payments that were directed by Manafort, items that were found in the raid on his home, and asked each witness if he knew of or had dealt with Gates (many said no; two said they dealt with Gates on Manafort's financial matters).

Things like a $21,000 Limited Edition black titanium Royal Way watch with crystal, a Mercedes Benz for his wife, and a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich.

The charges against Manafort were brought as result of information Mueller's team unearthed in its probe of Russian election tampering and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Prosecutors made no reference to Trump in their opening statement nor discussed in any way Manafort's leadership of the Trump campaign, or the ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the president's associates. Mueller was not present in the courtroom. Manafort's trial is unrelated to either allegation.

He warned jurors that Gates could not be trusted and was the type of witness who would say anything he could to save himself from a lengthy prison sentence and a crippling financial penalty.

When Capone stood trial in 1931, prosecutors needed a way to show that the mobster - not the kind to leave a paper trial when it came to income - was making a lot of money.

No reason to believe remains returned by North Korea are not American
Nauert said that North Korean officials would be at some of the same meetings as State Department officials in the area. The cases have been kept there since Friday , awaiting their repatriation to Hawaii for further forensic analysis.

"All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied", Asonye said.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Rabin testified that Manafort paid him to make TV advertisements for political parties and candidates in the Ukraine.

Manafort's attorneys are putting the blame on Gates, Manafort's business associate.

This on Day 2 of Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges of tax and bank fraud, not related to Robert Mueller's Russian Federation election tamper investigation, though that distinction seems lost on Trump.

But Zehnle said there was no evidence that Manafort ever meant to deceive the IRS.

Ronald Wall, the CFO of House of Bijan in Beverly Hills, also took the stand. Manafort was a "very good customer" at the high-end clothing shop that calls itself "the world's most expensive store", he said.

Defense lawyers also sought to address head-on Manafort's wealth and the images of a gaudy lifestyle that jurors are expected to see. "We do not dispute that".

Mr. Manafort faces the second day of his Virginia trial on Wednesday. The former political manager will have another trial in September across the river in Washington on charges of false statements to investors and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Zehnle appeared to be aiming to undermine the credibility of Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.

Judge raps prosecutors over testimony on Manafort's luxuries