Manafort Drops Appeal of Civil Case Against Mueller

Paul Manafort’s first trial begins this week Here’s what to expect

Paul Manafort’s first trial begins this week Here’s what to expect

This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of USA district Judge T.S Ellis III, and the jury during the jury selection of his trial in Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2018.

During his opening statement, Assistant US Attorney Uzo Asonye told the jury that Mr Manafort considered himself above the law as he funnelled tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts.

The trial marks the first court test for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation and related matters, and whose team is prosecuting Manafort.

A Manafort conviction would give momentum to Mueller, who has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, including 12 people court documents described as Russian intelligence agents who hacked into Democratic Party computer networks.

The former political consultant, who ran the Trump campaign for three months, has pleaded not guilty.

On the second day of Paul Manafort's trial, Trump took to Twitter to purge the contents of his disordered mind and come to his former campaign manager's defense.

"Unfortunately for Paul Manafort, his trust in Rick Gates was misplaced", Manafort attorney Thomas Zehnle told the jury.

Manafort, the lone American charged by Mueller who has opted to stand trial instead of cooperate with prosecutors, was described by his defense lawyer as a hugely successful worldwide political consultant who left the details of his finances to others.

Republicans seek to impeach US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
The move comes after a tense, monthslong tug of war over the Justice Department's production of documents and information. Republican leaders, however, have said in recent weeks that they are satisfied with the Justice Department's progress.

He made clear that undermining the credibility of Rick Gates, his former business associate and the government's star witness, is central to the defence strategy. 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.

The high-profile trial is the first to arise out of Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russian Federation.

Ellis has scolded members of Mueller's team before, asserting back in May that the team was really interested in targeting President Trump. And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

Paul Manafort, who is being held in solitary confinement, has otherwise bragged about his jail stay and his "VIP treatment".

"Just like he lied to the IRS and his tax preparer, Paul Manafort also misled his bookkeeper about his foreign accounts", Asonye said. He said Manafort "worked for me for a very short time. The Special Counsel consents to a one week extension of the deadline to submit a Joint Pretrial Order but objects to the longer extension Mr. Manafort seeks in this motion", they continued.

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".

"When a prosecutor looks into those dealings and uncovers evidence of criminal culpability", said Stanford law professor David Alan Sklansky, "it doesn't make sense to ask him to avert his eyes".

This is the first of two trials for Manafort.

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