Mueller plans to call 35 witnesses in Paul Manafort trial

Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013

Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013

Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office said Monday that Paul Manafort earned $60 million from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine and challenged a motion by the former Trump campaign chairman's attorneys to exclude dozens of exhibits on the topic. The 35 names include former accountants, assistants and even friends.

"Hearing the voice of so many Americans who felt unrepresented by our government, Paul helped to define Donald Trump's core beliefs and, along with other remarkably talented individuals, they achieved what is believed to be one of the greatest victories in the annals of any presidential campaign", the defense fund site said.

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Manafort is also facing charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering and making false statements, but those will be heard in a second trial, scheduled for September in Washington, D.C. But federal judges overseeing both cases have upheld Mueller's authority to investigate and prosecute Manafort. "If anyone on earth knows Manafort's brain and intentions it's Rick Gates, and Rick Gates is going to get on the stand and say, 'Let me tell ya".

Now, Paul Manafort is a defendant, and this time his team is made up of lawyers, not political operatives, fighting to keep him out of prison. At one point, his defence lawyers sued Mueller and the Justice Department, saying they had overstepped their bounds by bringing a prosecution untethered to the core questions of Mueller's investigation - whether Russian Federation worked with the Trump campaign to tip the election.

Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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The heart of the government's case involves nine years of Manafort's lucrative lobbying and consulting for Ukraine and its former leader Victor Yanukovych, work the USA government said Manafort should have registered with the Justice Department.

Mr Mueller's team has estimated it could take eight to 10 days to present its case to the jury, suggesting the trial may last at least three weeks. Trump has given no indication that he'll pardon his former campaign chairman.

The trial, starting with selection of a 12-member jury, coincides with growing speculation that Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen may cooperate with federal investigators against the president. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.

On the one hand, such evidence is hard for Manafort's attorneys to dispute - "because really hard to cross examine a document", Cotter said- but it could be boring or difficult for jurors to follow. But in June, his bail terms were revoked and he was jailed to await trial after it was alleged that he tried to contact and sway two government witnesses by phone. Prosecutors also charged another one of his associates, Konstantin Kilimnik, with working with Manafort to try to tamper with the potential witnesses.

"The documents establish the breadth of the work that Manafort performed, including commissioning television ads, writing speeches and carrying on campaign-related activities", read the filing, Bloomberg states.

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