Judge raps prosecutors over testimony on Manafort's luxuries

Manafort trial poses first courtroom test for Mueller

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Prosecutors originally planned to submit 50 exhibits and more than 400 documents to the record as evidence. And he regularly paid for his extravagant expenses through global wire transfers.

Prosecutors provided the details to help establish Manafort's income and involvement in the payments.

"I do not want a data dump", Ellis said, referring to a practice in which prosecutors submit so much evidence to the record that jurors do not see or hear about it until they are deliberating. It's as if they're thinking "Why do we have to put up with this idiot judge?" he said.

Government attorneys with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team seemed to be using a time-worn legal tactic, highlighting extravagant purchases well beyond the means of a typical juror while arguing that Manafort financed his lifestyle in part by cheating the government out of taxes he owed. It opened with extraordinary anticipation amid unresolved questions about whether Trump associates coordinated with the Kremlin to tip the election in the president's favor.

Manafort, he said, always paid via wire transfer from banks in Cyprus, which is where prosecutors say Manafort hid loads of cash he made in Ukraine. With electronic devices barred, those in the crowded federal courtroom didn't even see the tweets until a brief lunch break.

Mueller was appointed to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and claims of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia. In fact, at the outset of the day, Ellis even banned the word "oligarch" from the courtroom in reference to people Manafort dealt with during his work in Ukraine and Russian Federation, saying the word had "come to have a pejorative meaning".

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters displayed a life-sized puppet of Trump and held signs saying, "Trump won't do time for you", "It's Mueller time", and "I like your new suit" alongside a photo of Manafort's mug shot.

An Alan Couture suit can go for about $5,000, according to invoices offered as evidence by Mueller, while the a cashmere and silk jacket cost Manafort $5,000. One witness, Maximillian Katzman, testified that Manafort spent more than $900,000 at his boutique retailer in NY.

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Some stunning testimony emerged, including from a high-end Manhattan clothier who said Manafort spent $334,000 at his business over two years on custom suits and accessories.

USA citizens are typically required to submit a Foreign Bank Account Report if the accumulated value of their foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 during a 12-month period.

The judge in Manafort's trial told prosecutors not to use the word "oligarch" to describe wealthy Ukrainians who paid millions to the former Trump campaign chairman.

With the jury out of the room, the judge complained about prosecutors' efforts to show that Manafort's life was luxurious and blocked them from showing one document on home renovations. The jury, the judge said, "can add".

In another tweet referring to 1920s Chicago mobster Alphonse "Al" Capone, Trump wrote, "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, 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?"

Prosecutors said on Wednesday they planned to wrap up with testimony from two more vendors on Thursday before calling people who worked as bookkeepers and accountants for Manafort. Many of these payments outlined in the courtroom Tuesday also came through worldwide wire transfer.

"He may testify in this case, he may not", said prosecutor Uzo Asonye, a day after the defense made clear in opening statements to jurors that its strategy centered on discrediting Gates as an untruthful embezzler. He pleaded guilty in February to conspiring against the United States and lying to investigators.

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