Manafort's journey to center of Mueller's investigation

Paul Manafort's path from Trump's campaign chairman to currently finding himself under indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 6:19 PM

Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office Friday released a list of potential witnesses in the upcoming Virginia trial of Paul Manafort.

The list of 35 men and women includes no household names, but provides a road map of the case that the government will likely present against the former Trump campaign chairman next week, including possible testimony from business partners and purveyors of luxury goods.

Manafort faces tax evasion and bank fraud charges in a jury trial that is set to begin Tuesday. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner and deputy on the Trump campaign, is included on the list and is expected to be one of the key witnesses in the case.

Gates was originally charged alongside Manafort but flipped on his longtime business partner and pleaded guilty earlier this year to participating in a wide-ranging conspiracy with Manafort to launder millions of dollars and deceive the US government. As part of his deal, Gates agreed to cooperate with Mueller, and prosecutors said earlier this week that he will play a prominent role in their case.

Prosecutors alleged that Manafort and Gates worked hand-in-hand to defraud banks and avoid paying taxes on their offshore money. At trial, Gates could provide jurors a compelling first-hand account of how Manafort broke these laws. Gates is the only former Trump campaign official on the witness list, though his testimony isn't expected be about his work on the 2016 election.

Also included on the list is Tad Devine, the former chief strategist for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. Prosecutors earlier this week revealed documents showing Devine's work alongside Manafort as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Prosecutors have said that Manafort's work in Ukraine to help elect former President Victor Yanukovych is "at the core" of the bank fraud charges he faces.

In a statement, Julian Mulvey, another named partner in Devine's consulting firm, said Devine was testifying as a "fact witness" and that his firm has been assured by Mueller's office that they "did not act unlawfully."

"The Special Counsel has asked Tad Devine to appear and testify about media consulting work on past political campaigns in Ukraine," Mulvey said. "We are happy to assist in the important fact-finding work of this investigation to achieve justice and protect our democracy."

Devine has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Daniel Rabin, a longtime Democratic ad-maker, also is named on the list. Government exhibit lists show he exchanged emails with Manafort, Gates and Devine about work in Ukraine. He has also not been accused of wrongdoing, and CNN has reached out to him for comment.

Earlier this week, Manafort's attorneys asked the judge in his upcoming trial to exclude dozens of exhibits related to his years working in Ukraine. In a filing submitted Thursday in Virginia federal court, Manafort's attorneys listed over 50 government exhibits that they called "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming."

Prosecutors are expected to respond to the filing on Monday. They told the judge earlier this week that the exhibits would help demonstrate the close relationship between Manafort and his Russia-friendly benefactors in Ukraine.

Several of the other names included as potential witnesses appear to work for companies that Manafort allegedly purchased millions of dollars' worth of luxury goods and services from, with money prosecutors say he unlawfully handled.

A ticket vendor for the New York Yankees, a high end men's clothier and a Mercedes Benz salesman all appear to be on the government witness list, as do people involved in the renovation of some of Manafort's high-end New York homes.

Five individuals who are connected to financial institutions and real estate dealings made by Manafort, who this week had been allowed by the judge overseeing the case to testify with immunity, are also included on the list.

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