The Latest: Jurors hear about lavish spending by Manafort
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the trial of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (all times local):
Jurors at Paul Manafort’s trial has heard details of the former Trump campaign chairman’s lavish spending — nearly all paid for either in cash or offshore wire transfers.
The defense has argued that the illegal conduct alleged by the government was carried out by Manafort’s associate, Rick Gates, without Manafort’s knowledge.
But a series of witnesses for the prosecution testified Wednesday that they didn’t know Gates and he wasn’t involved in paying them for the millions of dollars’ worth of clothing, expensive cars and home improvement work.
The witnesses instead testified Manafort personally directed them to be paid in wire transfers from offshore accounts that prosecutors say he hid from the IRS.
Wednesday marked the second day of Manafort’s trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges.
Prosecutors in Paul Manafort’s trial say they expect to rest their case against the former Trump campaign chairman next week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye says the prosecution is running “ahead of schedule” as the trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges entered its second day Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has been pushing the attorneys from special counsel Robert Mueller’s to narrow the amount of evidence presented to jurors.
The government had previously estimated the prosecution’s portion of the trial could take three weeks.
A witness in the Paul Manafort trial says the former Trump campaign chairman spent more than $900,000 on clothes at his boutique in New York.
Maximillian Katzman said Manafort was his only client who paid via international wire transfer. Katzman is the son and business partner of one of Manafort’s high-end tailors.
Manafort is on trial on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III grew impatient during the testimony, saying: “The government doesn’t want to prosecute someone because they wear nice clothing, do they?”
The federal judge in Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial is trying to place limits on the court proceedings, warning lawyers not to roll their eyes at him or to introduce irrelevant evidence.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III pressed prosecutors to limit their use of an extensive trove of evidence, saying that some documents and photographs were not relevant to charges that Manafort tried to hide millions of dollars in income on his tax returns.
At one point in the trial’s second day, Ellis also said he was told that attorneys on both sides had been seen rolling their eyes after leaving the bench or in response to his rulings. The lawyers’ facial expressions, Ellis said, appeared to show them thinking “why do we have to put up with this idiot judge?”
President Donald Trump is invoking one of the nation’s most notorious criminals in venting about the treatment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as he begins trial.
Trump, in the midst of an angry tweet storm Wednesday about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, asked the public “who was treated worse,” 1920s gangster Al Capone or Manafort.
The president called Manafort “a Reagan/Dole darling” and questioned why Manafort was in solitary confinement before being convicted.
Manafort is currently standing federal trial for tax evasion and bank fraud.
Trump suggested that Manafort was being treated worse than Capone, whose first name he spelled incorrectly. Capone, dubbed “Public Enemy Number One,” was convicted of tax evasion.
An FBI agent who participated in the raid last year on Paul Manafort’s Virginia condo is testifying on the second day of the trial for the former Trump campaign chairman.
Special Agent Matthew Mikuska told jurors on Wednesday that the FBI knocked multiple times on the door of Manafort’s condo before entering with a key after no one answered. He says agents spotted Manafort inside after they entered.
A prosecutor showed Mikuska and the jury a series of invoices, including for home improvement work, that were seized by the FBI during the July 2017 raid.
Testimony is expected to continue after the morning recess.
Manafort is on trial on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion.
This item has been corrected to show that the FBI raid was in July 2017, not August 2017.
The judge in the trial of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is telling prosecutors not to use the word “oligarch” to describe wealthy Ukrainians who paid millions to Manafort for his work as an international political consultant.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III says oligarch has a “pejorative” meaning and using it isn’t relevant to the bank fraud and tax evasion charges against Manafort.
The judge also is cautioning lawyers for special counsel Robert Mueller that the term could imply that Manafort was associating with “despicable” people and therefore guilty himself.
In Ellis’ words: “That’s not the American way.”
Ellis notes that wealthy Democratic donor George Soros or one of the conservative Koch (kohk) brothers could qualify as oligarchs.
Ellis’ comments on the second day of Manafort’s trial weren’t made in front of the jury.
President Donald Trump says his attorney general should put an end to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Trump is making his views known in a series of tweets as the trial of his onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, enters its second day in a Virginia courtroom. He’s on trial for bank fraud and tax evasion charges.
The president says Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”
But Sessions stepped aside last year from overseeing Mueller’s inquiry, and it’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who’s taken over that duty.
Trump is trying to distance himself from Manafort, who led Trump’s efforts to secure the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. Trump tweets that Manafort “He worked for me for a very short time.”
Manafort was the campaign chairman for about five months in 2016.
Federal prosecutors say onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort considered himself above the law as he funneled tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts. And government lawyers are alleging that this money paid for some of Manafort’s personal expenses such as a $21,000 watch and a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich.
That’s some of what came up during the first day of Manafort’s trial in Virginia on bank fraud and tax evasion charges.
The prosecution is laying out the evidence gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. It’s the first trial arising from Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
Manafort’s defense lawyer describes his client as a hugely successful international political consultant who left the details of his finances to others.