Mueller team continues prep for Manafort trial

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Despite some murmurs that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort could try to avoid his upcoming trial, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is pressing forward.

Wednesday morning, prosecutors filed a list of evidence they’d like to present at the trial, such as charts, photographs, memos for his Ukrainian oligarch employers and phone records.
The photos the prosecutors would like to show the jury include evidence of Manafort’s lavish purchases, which they say help prove Manafort’s money laundering conspiracy charges.
The clothing with House of Bijan and Alan Couture labels, photos of a Mercedes-Benz, home improvements and other homes he bought are among the photo collection. Prosecutors described some of these items in open court during Manafort’s first trial this summer in Virginia, but jurors were not allowed to see the pictures until deliberations.
A hearing where Judge Amy Berman Jackson was to consider this evidence was pushed back from Wednesday to Friday.
Judge denies Manafort's request to move next trial from DC to VirginiaOne of the memos, prosecutors say, shows how Manafort has been in touch with Ukrainian backer Rinat Akhmetov since 2005 and had given the billionaire advice on US policy regarding Ukraine.
Manafort’s team has previously said it would like to cut out hundreds of documents the prosecutors plan to use at trial, for reasons ranging from relevance to hearsay.
In one email that Manafort’s team would like to suppress, Manafort wrote to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to say he was “managing” a lobbying program for Yanukovych that Manafort “created and paid for [him]self.” Other emails describe Manafort’s organization of a group of European officials to lobby on Ukraine in the US, called the Hapsburg group, and a report from law firm Skadden Arps about the trial of Yanukovych’s political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.
Other emails prosecutors would like to use at trial show how “Manafort conspired with, among others, Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik as to various charged crimes, and the government will establish the existence of these conspiracies at trial,” Mueller’s team wrote.
Manafort faces seven charges in DC, including failing to register as a lobbyist for a foreign country and witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Kilimnik, a Russian, is also charged in the witness tampering allegations but has not appeared in US court.