Jury of six men, six women sworn in for Manafort trial

Larry Hoffman
August 1, 2018

Unlike his former colleague Rick Gates, Mr Manafort has not co-operated with the special counsel investigation. During a preliminary hearing in May, Ellis said he saw no relation between the cases and "anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate", but concluded later that upon further review the special counsel had "followed the money paid by pro-Russian officials" to Manafort.

Manafort arrived at the courthouse Tuesday morning wearing a black suit, with his hair neatly parted.

Manafort and Gates were indicted last year and earlier this year on charges related to their work in Ukraine by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 us presidential election. The remaining 31 individuals charged have either reached plea agreements, including ex-White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, or are Russians seen as unlikely to enter an American courtroom.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. "Not tax. Not banking law", Asonye told the jury of six men and six women in Federal Court in Virginia, referring to Manafort.

The Government intends to show that Mr Manafort funnelled more than $US60 million ($81 million) in proceeds from his Ukrainian political consulting through offshore accounts and hid a "significant" portion of it from tax collection authorities. "Not tax, not banking law".

Earlier in the day, prosecutors and defense attorneys selected a 12-member jury to weigh Manafort's fate.

Turley said Manafort may be "playing a pardon strategy".

Ellis rejected that argument despite having initially questioned the special counsel's motives for bringing the case.

Manafort has a second trial scheduled for September in the District of Columbia.

"Paul Manafort travelled in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said.

They said he did not wilfully mislead or deceive the Internal Revenue Service, and that he was betrayed by Gates, who pleaded guilty to making false statements after being indicted by Mueller. Manafort's wife, Kathleen, was sitting behind him in the courtroom.

Zehnle placed the blame for Manafort's current troubles on Gates' shoulders.

Pres. Trump derides previous administrations for not telling him about Paul Manafort's alleged crimes before he hired him to run his 2016 campaign.

Manafort attorney Thomas Zehnle at Tuesday's opening made it clear the defence plans to make attacking Gates a central element of their defence.

The trial, in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to last at least three weeks.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers objected to almost two dozen other candidates in the juror pool for unknown reasons.

Prosecutors say they may call as many as 35 witnesses, including five who have immunity agreements. They include accountants, financial advisers, tax preparers and real estate agents.

WASHINGTON-Two questions loom large as Paul Manafort prepares to walk into a federal courtroom Tuesday: Will Donald Trump's former campaign chairman spend what effectively could be the rest of his life in prison?

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