Today marks the long-awaited beginning of the first of what we predict will be many trials that result from Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into the Donald J. Trump for President campaign and the allegations of collusion with agents of the Russian Federation.
First to take the stand will be Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who is accused of orchestrating a “global conspiracy” to launder and evade taxes on the millions of dollars he received doing shady lobbying work for former Ukranian puppet leader, Viktor Yanukovych. He faces 305 years in prison for 18 financial crime charges.
While the charges aren’t specifically related to the Trump-Russia affair, the likelihood that Paul Manafort will sell out his former employer in exchange for a better sentence is looking pretty good — especially considering the way that he’s decided to conduct his legal defense.
Bloomberg reports that Manafort and his high-priced attorneys have decided to go with the “dogpile your subordinate” defense, dumping the majority of the blame on his former associate and fellow Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates, who has already plead guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI and has turned witness for the prosecution.
Breaking via @TheTerminal, a first glimpse at the Manafort defense:
*MANAFORT'S LAWYER BLAMES RICK GATES FOR TAX CRIMES
*GATES ACCUSED BY MANAFORT'S LAWYER OF EMBEZZLING
*GATES HAD 'HAND IN THE COOKIE JAR,' DEFENSE LAWYER SAYS pic.twitter.com/UlRLUdQtuk
— David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) July 31, 2018
It’s a bold move, and one not likely to pay off. Pointing to things like a $15,000 ostrich jacket that was discovered in Manafort’s effects, prosecutors argued that his “extravagant lifestyle” was fueled by his secret income from Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. “All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied. Manafort placed himself and his money over the law” thundered prosecutor Uzo Asuye.
Now the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Manafort is planning to turn on Trump to save his own skin — and considering that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who worked with the president closely for decades, is already making it clear he’s not going to take a bullet for the President, it’s very doubtful that Manafort is going to take one for the team.
That’s when things get really interesting.