Alexandria, Virginia (CNN)Prosecutors on Wednesday sought to illustrate Paul Manafort’s expensive taste in suits, cars and real estate — paid for by wire transfers from offshore accounts — while President Donald Trump took to Twitter to sound off on the trial of his former campaign chairman and to attack special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Prosecutors also raised the prospect that Manafort’s longtime deputy, Rick Gates, would not be called as a witness, potentially complicating the defense’s attempts to deflect blame from Manafort to Gates.
As Mueller’s team made its case against Manafortin the courtroom, the President took to Twitter to call the prosecution a “hoax” and claim that Manafort had worked for his campaign “for a very short time.”
Manafort’s trial is the first case Mueller’s team has taken before a jury, where they are charging Manafort with 18 counts of violating tax and banking laws. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors have highlighted Manafort’s purchases of real estate, cars, a $21,000 watch and a $15,000 jacket “made from an ostrich” in their effort to paint him as a lavish spender. Judge T.S. Ellis, however, has prevented prosecutors from showing photos of luxury items to the jury.
Ellis has repeatedly told the lawyers to “hurry up” or “move along” during questioning, and Mueller’s team said Wednesday that they now expect to rest their case next week. It’s not clear how much time the defense team will take with its case.
Trump compares Manafort treatment to Capone
The President is paying close attention to TV coverage of the trial and has his legal team giving updates on developments, sources tell CNN, and he began the day by blasting the investigation: “This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
In a second tweet, Trump wrote: “Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!”
“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? Where is the Russian Collusion?” Trump tweeted.
Warning about ‘oligarchs’
Prosecutor Uzo Asonye opened the door Wednesday to the idea that Mueller’s team might not call Gates as a witness.
“He may testify in this case, he may not,” Asonye said. Asonye added that his team is always re-evaluating whether to call a witness, depending on how the case is going and timing.
Ellis tried to hurry prosecutors along all day as they walked the jury through documents found in Manafort’s home with FBI agent Matthew Mikuska.
“If you’re to call Mr. Gates, this is a waste of time,” Ellis said, referring to Mikuska’s testimony about a memo titled “Gates agenda” that appeared to be a strategy memo from 2013.
During the back-and-forth about whether Gates will testify, Ellis noted the flurry of journalists leaving the courtroom, saying they “scurried out of here like rats out of a sinking ship.”
Ellis also made his own connection to the larger Russian investigation with an interesting comparison of “oligarchs” to prominent US political donors.
Before the jury entered the room on Wednesday, Ellis urged both sides to avoid using the term “oligarch” when describing Manafort’s powerful patrons in Ukraine. Ellis told Mueller’s team not to give jurors the implication that oligarchs were criminals.
In making his point, Ellis, who is known as a sometimes colorful judge, even invoked two prominent US political donors.
“Mr. Soros would then be an oligarch … so would Mr. Koch … but we wouldn’t use that term,” Ellis said, referring to Democratic megadonor George Soros and one of the billionaire Koch brothers, whose influential network supports Republican candidates.
No pictures, please
As prosecutors laid out their case Wednesday, Ellis prevented the jury from seeing photos of the luxury clothing, watch and other items Manafort allegedly bought with hidden Ukrainian consulting money.
“Mr. Manafort is not on trial for having a lavish lifestyle,” Ellis said with the jury out of the room. Ellis has previously expressed his distaste for the special counsel’s approach to the case.
The photos of clothing with “Alan Couture” and “House of Bijan” labels are part of the prosecutors’ trove of evidence. Instead of showing pictures of the “closets full” of high-end clothing that Mikuska described on the stand, Ellis, Asonye and Mikuska have only talked about the items.
Manhattan clothier Maximillian Katzman told the jury that Manafort was the only client of high-end men’s boutique Alan Couture to pay with international wire transfers.
“You will be receiving an email for the amount due from Leviathan,” which is a foreign shell company of Manafort’s, Manafort wrote to the clothing boutique in one email.
Katzman described several invoices for Manafort from his father’s store, Alan Couture, where he was a manager. Manafort had bought four suits and two pairs of trousers for $15,195, according to one invoice, for instance, Katzman said.
Manafort spent on average $100,000 with the store every year from 2010 to 2012. In 2013, he spent $443,160 at the store, Katzman said.
After he said Manafort was an important client, Ellis asked Katzman if all of Alan Couture’s clients were important.
“I don’t want to answer that,” Katzman said, to much laughter in the courtroom.
Ronald Wall, a financial executive at House of Bijan, a high-end fashion store inBeverly Hills, described Manafort as “a very good customer.”
Daniel Opsut, a financial officer at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Virginia, testified that Manafort’s family bought and leased expensive cars from the luxury dealership and paid from Manafort’s offshore accounts in Cyprus.
Paying from offshore accounts is “not common, but it’s not unheard-of,” Opsut said.
Steve Jacobson, a longtime construction contractor who worked on personal projects for the Manaforts in the Hamptons and New York, told the jury that Manafort had paid his company mostly through international wire transfers for millions of dollars’ worth of home renovations.
One incoming wire transfer in 2010 paid for home improvements worth $124,000 and came from a shell company Manafort allegedly used called Global Highway Limited. “This matches up with the invoice I sent to him,” Jacobson testified.
Not a ‘no-knock raid’
Mikuska, the FBI agent who raided Manafort’s home last year, testified that he and other agents had gathered outside Manafort’s door shortly after 6 a.m., then knocked on three separate occasions and announced that the FBI was there to execute a search warrant.
When nobody answered the door, the agents used a key they already had and entered the condo, Mikuska said. When they walked in, they saw Manafort standing nearby. The agent testified he did not know how the FBI agents had the key.
Some news reports following the July 2017 search suggested that it was a “no-knock raid,” but Mikuska disputed that notion.
Mikuska told the jury that Manafort’s name was on several documents found showing millions of dollars in loan agreements and wire transfer invoices.
His testimony was the first moment in the trial where prosecutors have gotten to the meat of their argument — that Manafort knowingly signed several kinds of false financial documents.
One document seized during the search was a loan agreement with Banc of California with Manafort listed as the applicant. This bank is among the financial institutions victimized by Manafort’s alleged bank fraud.
Another document appears to show a wire transfer with Manafort’s name on it with a $3 million balance. That document said “wire into our account,” Mikuska said.
Consultant first witness of the day
Political TV ad consultant Daniel Rabin took the stand as the prosecution’s first witness of the day.
He spoke about his work in Ukraine with Manafort for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his political party, the Party of Regions. Rabin previously worked alongside Manafort and Tad Devine, who testified Tuesday about Manafort’s work in Ukraine.
Prosecutor Greg Andres said the witnesses are meant to establish for the jury the extent of the work Manafort did in Ukraine, up until Yanukovych’s ouster in 2014. Yanukovych has since fled to Russia.
Defense attorney Richard Westling asked Rabin whom he sent invoices to at Manafort’s company for his Ukrainian TV ad work. Rabin said they first went to an assistant at the company, then to Gates.
“Sounds like he handled a lot of logistics and business issues,” Westling said.
This is not just another E-Commerce Store Plugin. This is ultimate wordpress plugin which setup your ali express affiliate store in 2 minutes. Only 2 Minutes to Setup.Comparing Xpress Stores Plugin vs Amazon Store PluginUpto 50% commissions
Flickstr Business Edition PROFlickstr BUSINESS Edition: LIVE ACTION Video Maker With 20 Brand NEW Business Edition Video Templates INCL. HumanVoice Text 2 Speech Technology and MASSIVE BRAND NEW BUSINESS CLASS Features. LOWEST One-Time Launch Special Price Today ONLY!
VidMozo ElitePromote A DEAD SIMPLE, Cloud Based App That Builds- Instant 1 Click SEO-Optimized Affiliate Sites, Curates Videos and Content and Gets You Facebook, Viral and Search Traffic on Complete AUTOPILOT
VidEntice OTO1VidEntice grew out of a need to have high converting video call to action elements right on the video itself, in order to get viewers to take action right there and then.
Social Share Suite (Developer License)Are you struggling to create high-quality and rich-content website? With this brand new WP theme, now you can build rich-content website without creating any single of content... Build viral niche sites, drive free traffic, build list, and make money on c
IM EmailsOver 1,200 subject lines by a 7 figure email marketer with open rate and CTR in a each to search software. Email topics include Affiliate promotions, earlybird, backend high ticket webinars, affiliate mails and more.
PixlyPro - Conversion and Traffic Boosting SoftwareCutting edge software creates viral marketing campaigns across multiple platforms – slashing the cost of traffic to a few cents per clickNew technology integrates call to action with 6 remarketing platforms, Never seen before concept Cheap, targeted tra
Leads Profiter Reseller LicenseLeads Profiter Is The First Ever Software
On Jvzoo for Quickly Building A
List and Raking Profit Online On Complete AutoPilot
Without Investing In Any Other Tool
ReachInfluencer VIP Club (Monthly)It is a cloud based software that lets you seal sponsored post contract deals with top influencers by reaching out to multiple influencers in ANY niche on Instagram and Twitter with an automated messaging system in just few clicks.
Online Sales Pro One-Time PaymentGrow Your Sales with Online Sales Pro. The lead generation, marketing automation, and direct sales software tool that has helped over 45,000 customers grow their leads, sales, and cash flow.
AdBuddy - Targeting Academy and InsightrAdsviser 3.0 comes packed with over 1,200,000 Profitable Facebook Ads, Niches, Dark Posts, Instagram Ads and tons more new features! Adsviser let’s you find Hidden FB Niches and TOP Profitable FB ads campaigns to reverse-engineer and dominate Shopify, Tee
EZ Review Videos Local PackSpecial bundle of our popular EZ Review Videos, featuring all of the local business videos together for just $67. Create amazing testimonial style video commercials for local businesses.
FlowLeadsGuaranteed viral list building software that will grow your email list on autopilot!
Cryptomatic360 [Front End]MonthlyFinally, You Too Can Get Your Hands On The Secret Weapon For Turning $300 into $78,000 in less than 60 days In The Bitcoin And Other Cryptocurrencies Market.... Even If you Have Never Bought Or Traded In Any Cryptocurrency Before
Public Domain PrintShopPublic Domain PrintShop is your guide to uncovering tons of FREE Public Domain content to use to make tons of digital and print products for free. You're also getting tips, tricks and secrets to selling printed products on sites like Etsy and Amazon with
DIY SEO Academy MembershipWe are pleased to offer you the Beta version of our online training in DIY SEO and DIY Internet Marketing. Journey with us as we create your greatest opportunity to excell. With DIY SEO and Internet Marketing, you'll save thousands of dollar each month ov
Viral Reach Pro MonthlyViral Reach Pro is the only Professional Content SAAS app that post and work with a variety of content. Especially content that keeps people on Facebook - Videos, Images and GIFs.
The Pro upgrade super-charges everything. It can Support up to 60 Campaign
Stream LivveStream Livve : How To Generate more view and Leads with Live Video
VidZio Pro - Unlimited CampaignsVidzio is a player that let you make sales directly from your videos… Customers can shop and watch at the same time without ever leaving your video or even hitting pause, you're leading them from engagement, to product, to purchase.
LaunchShark Volume 2 Downsell5 Quick Start Marketing Page Templates and training so you can deploy your first high converting squeeze page (perfect for building your first list if you don’t have one yet)...
GiftrackerCloud-based link shortening and tracking software
FBEngagr PROFBEngagr Allows You To Create Automated Interactive Poll Campaigns that Capture leads and Engage your Audience on FB Resulting to Massive sales and Buyers On Demand 100% Free!
Ez Video Ranks Version 2.0 - Intern Track 100 VideosAutomatically check ranking for your keywords you have optimized in your video titles. Simple as adding your channel URL, and pressing start. Intern package gives you the ability to track up to 100 videos, in google, google video, and youtube.
LiveRankSniper AgencyLive Rank Sniper Agency - Get Page 1 Google Rankings at Will!
Getting page 1 rankings in the search engines is THE most powerful way to get high-quality traffic online. Now just 3 simple steps in Live Rank Sniper hands you this power.
Clipmagix LITE | Pretty LITTLE Things That Gets You BUYERSClipmagix LITE : The MOST Powerful Creative and Captivating Pretty LITTLE Things Creator For HIGH Converting and HIGHLY Engaging Clipmagixs That Command, Mesmerize So You Can Get Paying Customers, FASTER. LOWEST One-Time Launch Special Price Today ONLY!
ProfitFox StarterThe world's most powerful notification technology that shows your lead forms and promo offers to right audience according to their behavior and boost leads, sales and profits on autopilot.
Vizully ELITE LiteVizully Elite Lite 100X Your Profits From BUYERS Hands-FREE With REAL Human Engagement On Autopilot.
Logo Hogg Developers LIcenceGet Instant Access To 1000+ Pro Logo Templates Valued at $9800
For Less Than 2 CENTS Each!
With FREE Easy to Use Editing Software Included
Developers Licence Upgrade to Sell Logos
VidSkippy 2.0 - Pro ( Unlimited Projects )Use Other People's Videos and their websites to quickly profit from any product in any niche with just a few clicks.Unlimited use, Additional features, Plus Add Testimonials to video / video ads (unlimited campaigns)
Covert Copy Traffic V1Simple WordPress plugin that automatically inserts your link and message when people copy and paste from your blog - easily doubling your social traffic in 7 seconds or less!
Video Agency Studio - EZ Videos PackSpecial bundle of our popular EZ Review Videos, featuring all of the local business videos together for just $67. Create amazing testimonial style video commercials for local businesses.
GraphySuite Premium CommercialWith GraphySuite now you can create professional Graphics and Videos without any technical knowledge by just using Power Point. GraphySuite has premium Done For You templates of Videos and Graphics of all types/Sizes for Social Media Platforms, Google Ads,
Linkedtify Pro - DownSellPurchase The Best LinkedIn Software and Training and get rewarded with consistent leads. Proof Inside!
TrafficZionTrafficZion is a simple-to-setup software that virtually ANYONE can use to start getting consistent FREE traffic on complete autopilot from a reputable free platform for any niche possible.The traffic comes from a legit and overlooked traffic source.
VidRankXpress ResellerA Revolutionary 1-Click Software Turns ANY Video into Endless Traffic Machine That Gets Page 1 Ranking on YouTube and Google and Drives Tons of Traffic from TOP Social Giants on 100% Autopilot.
TigerPress Previous Volumes Second Chance 8Premium one of a kind wordpress themes that do all the onpage seo for you including image seo, with TigerPress themes you can also generate an unlimited amount of geo targeted landing pages in any language.
Sociible Content A.I.Sociible Allows You To Create FULLY-AUTOMATED Social Marketing Campaigns in MINUTES by Leveraging OTHER Peopleand#39;s AUTHORITY Content
For UNLIMITED, Hands-Free Traffic, Leads and PROFIT – in ANY Niche!
InstaGenius ProWordpress plugin that finds customers and automatically follows up with them, tracking prices and selling it to them when their requested products go on sale - or recommended items become available.
ChromEngage 1 Lead MagnetAutomatically capture fresh targeted leads in any niche with your own custom created Chrome Extension lead capture magnet
OSP Express DFY SetupGrow Your Sales with Online Sales Pro. The lead generation, marketing automation, and direct sales software tool that has helped over 45,000 customers grow their leads, sales, and cash flow.