Comrade Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s trial on 18 charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy got off to a rollicking start yesterday.
Lead prosecutor Uzo Asonye alleges Manafort relied on a life of crime to fund a lifestyle that included seven homes, fancy cars, and a tacky $15,000 ostrich skin jacket. (OK, he didn’t say tacky, but have you ever seen an ostrich skin jacket?)
When Asonye dwelt on Manafort’s wealth, Ellis chided the prosecutor.
“It isn’t a crime to have a lot of money,” the judge said.
Asonye said that he will show that Manafort didn’t pay the taxes he owed, and that was the crime.
Asonye also said that Manafort pulled this off by lying to his bookkeeper, his tax preparer, the IRS, and his banks.
Thomas Zehnle, the defense attorney suggested that Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates is a untrustworthy liar, a crook who embezzled millions from him. Now, that may or may not be true, but it doesn’t mean Manafort didn’t evade paying taxes. Anyway, it seems clear that the defense is going to sow doubt about Gates.
And that’s where things stand today.