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Tag: Robert Mueller

White-Collar Attorney: It’s a Myth that Mueller Must Interview Trump Before Seeking Indictments

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The constant media coverage about President Trump refusing an interview with  special counsel Robert Mueller has created the false perception that prosecutors need to talk with the president before completing the investigation.

It’s not true, says Jon Sale, an opinion contributor for The Hill and a lawyer who has represented people accused of white-collar crimes.

Sale wrote:

Government prosecutors conduct white-collar investigations every day. Usually, prosecutors complete their investigations without the benefit of interviewing the person under investigation. 

Like all white-collar investigations, Mueller’s investigation requires an analysis of the president’s knowledge and intent. The allegations involving obstruction and foreign meddling in our election are no exception.

Knowledge and intent determinations are necessary in most white-collar investigations. Typically, prosecutors determine whether they can prove criminal intent based on the facts uncovered in their investigation, including relevant witness testimony and documentary evidence such as emails.

Truth is, Mueller can seek an indictment of the president without an interview by using evidence culled from witnesses and records.

Sure enough, Trump’s team of lawyers is urging him not to agree to an interview, which is not unusual in cases like these.

“Here, the president and his legal team have apparently concluded, rightly or wrongly, that Mueller’s probe is a “witch-hunt” conducted by partisans who have pre-determined the president’s guilt,” Sale writes. “Given the president’s view about the unfair mindset of Mueller’s team, submitting to a voluntary interview would be tantamount to walking into the lion’s den.”

Gates Told Feds about Manafort’s Foreign Bank Accounts Long Before Mueller’s Probe

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before longtime business partners Paul Manafort and Rick Gates began running Donald Trump’s campaign for president, Gates revealed to the FBI that their consulting firm had foreign bank accounts.

The disclosure by Gates, made public during the Manafort trial this week, is a big deal because the foreign bank accounts became the impetus for investigating and eventually charging the pair with bank and tax fraud.

Gates told the jury that federal law enforcement in was investigating money the pair made working for Russian-friendly Ukrainian officials. He said Manafort told him to be truthful before Gates made the disclosure in 2014.

At the time, federal authorities didn’t have enough evidence to force the pair to disclose their financial records, which eventually were obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and used as key evidence in charging both men.

Earlier this year, Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate with them as they took their case to trial. The government is expected to rest its case in the Manafort trial by Friday.

Prosecutors allege millions of dollars were deposited into the accounts so Manafort wouldn’t be taxed on money he was making from consulting work in Ukraine.

A Lot At Stake As Prosecutors Plan to End Fraud Case Against Manafort

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A lot is at stake in the Paul Manafort trial that began last week.

A victory for special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling during the election, would give him more credibility as president Trump tries to chip away at his reputation and intentions.

A loss for Mueller would give Trump more ammunition in his quest to convince the public that the investigation is a “witch hunt.”

By Friday, Mueller’s prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case against Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who is accused of bank and tax fraud.

Prosecutor Greg Andres told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that the government will rest its case after calling about eight more witnesses to the stand, which is expected to happen by the end of the week.

Once the prosecution rests its case, Manafort’s lawyers will make their case that the Republican consultant did nothing wrong. It’s unclear how long the defense plans to take during the trial, which entered its second week on Monday.

Manafort’s Longtime Business Partner, Gates, Expected to Testify Against Manafort at Trial This Week

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Paul Manafort’s former longtime business partner, Rick Gates, is expected to testify against his old buddy this week in a criminal trial that could land the former Trump campaign chairman in prison for the rest of his life.

Rick Gates, who also served as an aide in Trump’s campaign, struck a plea deal with special counsel prosecutors to testify against Manafort, who is charged with 18 counts of tax fraud and banking crimes.

Gates is a vital witness for federal prosecutors’ case that alleges Manafort hid millions of dollars in secret, off-short bank accounts from profits he made working with a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. When he stopped working as a consultant for Ukrainian officials, Manafort lied to banks about his income to obtain loans to finance his “extravagant lifestyle,” prosecutors allege.

The trial resumes today and will be the second week of testimony for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Gates told prosecutors he has firsthand knowledge of the crimes.

The defense plans to paint Gates as en embezzler willing to bend the truth because of the leniency he received in the plea bargain.

Prosecutors: How Manafort Evaded Taxes, Falsified Records to Finance ‘Extravagant Lifestyle’

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel prosecutors on Friday shifted from Paul Manafort’s “extravagant lifestyle” to how he allegedly evaded taxes and falsified his bookkeeping to obtain loans used to finance his expensive tastes for clothes and real estate.

Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman during the election, is accused of hiding millions of dollars in secret, off-short bank accounts from profits he made working with a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, the Washington Post reports

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax fraud, banking crimes and conspiracy.

Friday was the fourth day of the criminal trial in Alexandria, Va.

In testimony early Friday, prosecutors sought to show how Manafort lied about the existence of off-shore accounts.

Tax preparer Philip Ayliff testified that Manafort claimed numerous times that he had no foreign bank accounts.

In an email from Ayliff to Manafort, the tax preparer asked Manafort if he had any interested in a foreign bank account, and Manafort responded that he didn’t.

“They never told us about any income that was deposited in foreign accounts,” he said.

If convicted, the 69-year-old Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mueller Offers Concessions for an Interview with Trump about Russia Investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has offered to change the format for an interview with President Trump that may include limiting some questions and offering some answers to be in writing.

Talks between special counsel prosecutors and Trump’s team have resumed in recent days, but it’s uncertain whether a deal will be reached, PBS reports

Trump has publicly insisted he wants to sit down for an interview, but his legal team has intervened out of concern that he will commit perjury.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani earlier this week suggested Trump would agree to an interview if it only relates allegations that his campaign colluding with Russia to undermine the presidential election. Giuliani doesn’t want special counsel to question the president about obstruction of justice.

The negotiations come at a heated time. Trump earlier this week urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller, calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Steve Bannon Calls Mueller a ‘Good Man’ But Suggests Rosenstein Should Be Fired Unless Documents Released

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former White House political strategist Steve Bannon called special counsel Robert Mueller “a good man, a combat-veteran Marine” in a strong departure from President Trump’s rhetoric.

But Bannon also insisted in an interview with The Hill that there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia and that Mueller should release a report on his findings before the mid-term elections so Americans can make up their own minds on the veracity of the investigation. 

“Let the American people, on Nov. 6, let them decide,” Bannon said. “They are going to say that is too thin a reed to hang anything serious on.”

Bannon also suggested Trump should fire Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, if he doesn’t disclose documents related to the Russia investigation.

“If he doesn’t do it in 72 hours, he’s fired. I’d fire him,” Bannon said.

Bannon’s positive comments about Mueller strongly contrast with Trump’s rhetoric.

“Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend,” the president tweeted. “Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama….And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?”

Giuliani: Trump’s Legal Team Preparing ‘Counter-Report’ to Rebut Mueller’s Findings on Russia Probe

Rudy Giuliani, president Trump’s attorney.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday his legal team is preparing a rebuttal in the form a “counter-report” to counter accusations that special counsel Robert Mueller’s is expected to outline a report about the Russia investigation.

Giuliani told the USA Today said he suspects Mueller’s team of prosecutors is “writing the report as we speak.” 

Giuliani said the counter-report would be released after his legal  team reviewed Mueller’s filing with the Justice Department.

Mueller’s office declined to comment, and it’s unclear whether he’s even working on such a report.

Giuliani said he expects Mueller to turn over the report on Sept. 1, which is two months before the midterm elections.