President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives at federal court in Washington, D.C., June 15. Wednesday, prosecutors detailed some of Manafort's lavish expenses and accused him of avoiding taxes and hiding millions of dollars in income. Photo Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors began arguments Wednesday in the trial of lobbyist and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces financial fraud charges stemming from actions taken before the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors argued Manafort attempted to avoid taxes and hide income by routing funds from overseas accounts directly to vendors in the United States, including $900,000 to a men's clothing store over the course of five years.
Manafort's taste in expensive menswear was part of the prosecution's strategy to depict him as a tax dodging spendthrift and they attempted to show jurors photos of his wardrobe. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Va., though, wouldn't allow it.
"Enough is enough," Ellis told Uzo Asonye, one of the prosecutors working under the special counsel, Robert Mueller, The New York Times reported. "We don't convict people because they have a lot of money and throw it around."
Defense attorneys for Manafort, who is facing 32 counts of financial fraud charges for not paying taxes while working as a political strategist in Ukraine, revealed they plan to blame at least some of the charges on Manafort's former associate, Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges of financial fraud and lying to investigators in February and is reportedly cooperating with prosecutors in the case against Manafort.
Prosecutors, though, said they might not call Gates to testify.
"He may testify, he may not," Asonye said, according to ABC News.
Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted about Manafort's trial and continued to dismiss it as a political stunt in retalliation for his winning of the 2016 presidential election.
"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 wrote.