Manafort Trial Starts Today

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

By all accounts, it is moving fast. The jury had already been selected and opening statements have started… and it is only 2 pm on Day One.

I don’t know how closely this trial will be followed (I won’t follow it), but apparently, prosecutors are going to avoid “the T word” (“Trump”), since this is taking place in Northern Virginia, a pro-Trump hotbed.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is being prosecuted on bank and tax fraud charges. Prosecutors allege he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.  This has zero to do with Trump and collusion, except that if Manafort is found guilty (or the trial starts going south), he may choose to plead for a lighter sentence by spilling the beans on Trump (if he has beans to spill).

But since we are already at the trial stage, flipping seems to be out of the question. So why is Manafort holding on?  A possible pardon.