The first trial of Manufactum: more focus on luxury than conspiracy

The first trial of Manufactum: more focus on luxury than conspiracy


Первый процесс над Манафортом: больше внимания роскоши, чем сговору

The trial will focus on consulting work the former head of the electoral headquarters of the trump in Ukraine

This week starts the trial of the former head of the electoral headquarters of the trump Paul Manafort. Here will be stories about luxury lifestyle, the secret shell companies, and also Ukrainian money, calculated in the millions of dollars that flowed through offshore Bank accounts into the pockets of political consultants.

What probably won’t – so it answers the question of whether coordinated headquarters trump their efforts with the Kremlin in the presidential elections in 2016, and indeed any reference to Russia.

Proceedings in respect of alleged financial crimes of Manafort is the first process, which led to the investigation of spectracolor Robert Mueller. However, it will focus on the consulting work of Manafort in Ukraine and only touch briefly on his participation in the presidential campaign.

However, there is no doubt that the trial will have wider implications.

The process, which will begin on Tuesday with the selection of the jury in Alexandria, Virginia, will allow the public to obtain the most detailed view of evidence that Mueller collected during the year. It will feature testimony regarding transactions and foreign relations of the defendant, to whom trump has entrusted to lead his campaign at a critical period of 2016, including during the Republican national Convention.

In addition, it will be held in a very delicate time for the President when the team Muller sought to question the head of state, and the trump intensifies attacks on the investigation, which he calls a “witch hunt”.

Enhances the intrigue of the anticipated spectacle in the performance of the Deputy Manafort Rick gates, who testified against him, agreeing to a deal with prosecutors to a plea. In addition, the constructed assumption that Manafort who is charged in two different courts, and who faces dozens of years in prison if convicted, may be pardoned by trump.

“Perhaps he believes he did nothing wrong, and because he did nothing wrong, he is not willing to plead guilty to any crime at all, even if it is a crime of less severity, – says Professor of law University of Notre Dame and a former Federal Prosecutor Jimmy Gurule. – Of course, this is a very risky position.”

Manafort, like gates, were indicted as part of a major investigation of Muller, but he is the only American defendant who agreed to the court instead of cooperating with the authorities. Charged another 31 man. Some of them made an agreement on recognition of guilt, including former White house adviser on national security Michael Flynn. The rest are Russian citizens, who hardly appear in the hall of the American court. Charges also were brought against three Russian companies.

The prosecution is trying to prove that Manafort “laundered” more than $ 30 million received for consulting activities in Ukraine, and hid them from the American tax service. Prosecutors said that in the process, can call 35 witnesses, including five people who signed an immunity agreement.

It is expected that the jury will show photos of the Mercedes of Manafort and its home with a pool in the Hamptons, Bali. Also, likely evidence suits individual cut of Beverly hills, a luxury Antiques, carpets, artwork and tickets to the baseball team New York Yankees.

Source of funds for a luxurious lifestyle, which led Manafort, was his political advice to Pro-Russian Ukrainian political party of Viktor Yanukovych, who was dismissed from the post of President of Ukraine in 2014.

Lawyers argue about what part of the information about the political work of Manafort, particularly its relations with Russia and the other rich politicians, a jury needs to hear.

At a recent hearing, district judge T. S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial warned prosecutors to show restraint, noting the current “antipathy” against Russia and that “most people [in the US] do not distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians”. He also said that it would not tolerate the display of photos of Manafort and other people “at a cocktail party with a barely-dressed women” if such photos exist.

Prosecutor Greg Andres assured the judge that “no photographs of barely dressed women will not” as there will be photos of Russian flags.

“I don’t think any witness from the government utter the word “Russia”,” said Andres.

While the jury will understand in detail the finances of Manafort, they will not talk about his other criminal case. We are talking about the accusations that he was acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lied to the authorities.

They also don’t know why Manafort been taken into custody in June after a judge lifted his house arrest in connection with allegations that he and his longtime companion were trying to influence witnesses. They also learn that a co-defendant of Manafort in his second case is a business partner Konstantin kilimnik, who lives in Russia and who, according to American authorities, associated with Russian intelligence.

Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly tried to downplay the connection of Manafort with the President, but the trial will take place without any reference to the campaign.

Team Mueller argues that the situation of Manafort campaign trump is related to some charges of Bank fraud. The prosecution plans to present evidence that the head of one Bank allowed Manafort to provide inaccurate information about the loans in exchange for working in the election campaign and the promise of the administration office in the trump, which has never been done.

The trial will allow the public their first glimpse of the line of defense of Manafort, which focused not so much on the substance of the charges, as on the authority of Muller to submit the case to the court. At some point, his lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Mueller and the Ministry of justice, stating that they exceeded their powers, putting forward allegations that are not related to the main question put to Muller – cooperated Li headquarters trump with Russia in order to influence the election?

Judge Ellis rejected this argument, although initially questioned the motives of spectacular underlying the initiation of the case. He noted that Deputy attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, the right allowed spectacular to investigate the business operations of Manafort. The original mandate of Muller allowed spectacular to investigate not only the potential collusion between the election headquarters trump and Russia, but also other crimes, which will be known in the course of proceedings.

“When the Prosecutor considers such transactions and sees the signs of a crime, it makes no sense to ask him to look away,” – said on this occasion Professor of law, Stanford University David Alan Sklansky.