Trump campaign chairman ‘considered himself above the law’: Prosecutors

Trump campaign chairman ‘considered himself above the law’: Prosecutors

Trump campaign chairman ‘considered himself above the law’: Prosecutors

Paul Manafort orchestrated a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to evade US tax and banking laws, leaving behind a trail of lies as he lived a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said Tuesday as they laid out their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Manafort is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy, preparing false tax returns and failing to disclose foreign income.

Prosecutors are seeking to provide details of Mr Manafort's work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, raising the possibility that new information about his Russian connections could emerge. "There is nothing prejudicial about documents setting forth how the ads were made, how consultants were paid and who approved their work".

Security personnel from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, watch the vicinity around the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Virginia, on day one of Paul Manafort's trial. While many in the courtroom laughed, including Manafort's lawyers, the defendant himself did not.

The other 31 people charged by Mueller so far have either pleaded guilty or are Russians seen as unlikely to enter an American courtroom.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department's No. 2 official past year to take over the FBI's Russian investigation after Sessions recused himself from the probe because of his own meetings with Russia's ambassador to Washington while serving as a campaign adviser to Trump.

The comments were the first volley in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial.

Jury selection began Tuesday morning at the district courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Judge T.S. Ellis III offered some humorous encouragement to the jurors chosen for the trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.

There are two core allegations against Manafort in the case being tried in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort is accused of concealing tens of millions of dollars in income from the IRS and fraudulently obtaining millions more in bank loans. Gates will likely be called as a witness in Manafort's trial.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, claims Mr Manafort made $60 million from Ukrainian political figures.

Manafort's attorney Thomas Zehnle painted a drastically different portrait of Manafort, calling him a successful political consultant of 40 years who left the day-to-day operations of his company to his former associate Rick Gates, who betrayed him.

The special counsel has enlisted as many as 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort. While the main areas of Mueller's investigation are Russia's actions during the 2016 presidential election and any attempts by Trump to obstruct justice, none of those topics are expected to come up in Manafort's trial. "Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One, ' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing?"

Mueller's team says Manafort's position in the Trump campaign is relevant to some of the bank fraud charges.

Manafort faces a second trial in September in Washington, where he is charged with money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering.

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