Following the evidence uncovered in the Russia investigation led Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is currently in jail. He’s facing an array of charges including bank and tax fraud on account of an alleged massive money laundering scheme he maintained in connection to pro-Russia political work in Europe.
He’s tried to get out from under the special counsel’s scrutiny, but his efforts have failed. Mueller is continuing with his case against Manafort, having now revealed a list of hundreds and hundreds of pieces of evidence his team is prepared to use against him. The list came out shortly before the start of the disgraced political operative’s Virginia trial, which is set to begin on July 26. Jury selection in that trial should take place next week.
In conjunction to the released list of evidence, former federal prosecutor and current Beverly Hills tax attorney Edward Robbins commented:
‘He’s in huge trouble. His move is obvious — plead guilty and cooperate to the extent he can against other people.’
The Virginia case will see prosecutors argue that Manafort intentionally hid offshore bank accounts and foreign income when filing taxes. There are at least 16 foreign accounts connected to Manafort that have come under Mueller’s scrutiny. It will be difficult, former federal prosecutor Jeremy Temkin noted, for Manafort’s team to downplay his connection to at least some of the accounts because of the lavish payments benefiting him made with money from them.
The preparations for the Virginia trial have seen Mueller, besides releasing evidence, move for immunity for five witnesses gearing up for testimony against the former Trump campaign manager. One of those witnesses is likely to be Rick Gates, Manafort’s former partner who also worked on the Trump team. Gates pleaded guilty in February to lying to the government about his overseas work with Manafort, leaving the currently jailed operative as the only one among charged Trump affiliated individuals who wasn’t cooperating.
The Virginia trial will be the first instance of charges filed by the special counsel’s team getting that far; others have either pleaded guilty or remained overseas out of reach of Mueller’s team. As of early Thursday, a defense motion to delay the trial remained unresolved, Bloomberg notes, but the special counsel was still preparing for the trial to begin soon anyway.
The case is one of two trials that Manafort is facing; the other is set to take place in D.C. court in June. It’s the judge in that case who is responsible for Manafort’s current stay in jail; Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked his house arrest after the special counsel came out with witness tampering charges against him. In D.C., he faces charges including failing to properly register as a foreign agent and money laundering.
The charges are a slap in the face to the claim that the whole Russia investigation is a witch hunt. Actual crimes were, according to the government, committed here — they didn’t just make this stuff up, as the hundreds of pieces of evidence are meant to prove.
Check out the list below.
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