Saturday, August 18, 2018

Eighth in a Series: Adult Coloring Book, "The Lawyers of Trump-Russia" (feat. Kevin Downing and Paul Manafort)


by Diane Klein

...tick, tick, tick...



It seems likely that no legal proceeding emanating from the Mueller investigation of the scandal known as "Trump-Russia," will contain fewer mentions of either Trump, or Russia, than the trial of former Trump campaign chairman and ostrich enthusiast Paul Manafort.  Manafort faces eighteen counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and related charges.  Notoriously, Eastern District of Virginia Judge Ellis prohibited the prosecution from describing corrupt Russian billionaire businessmen as "oligarchs," as well as mentions of "collusion" or "Russians" (despite Manafort's pivotal relationship with former Ukrainian President (and Manafort look-alike) Viktor Yanukovych). Manafort's own lawyers sought to limit mentions of "Trump," resulting in the spectacle of Rick Gates testifying about a "campaign" without mentioning the candidate.   

Still, the results of this first at-bat for Mueller's team are certain to be closely analyzed, both inside the White House and out. The trial ended unexpectedly early: although (or perhaps because!) Downing and his cohorts (Thomas Zehnle, Jay Nanavati, Brian Ketcham, and Richard Westling) have decades of tax fraud prosecution and white collar criminal defense experience between them, they elected to put on no witnesses at all.  After a day of closing arguments, the case went to the jury on Thursday, August 16.  After two full days of deliberations, including the obligatory request for a definition of "reasonable doubt," they went home for the weekend and will resume on Monday, August 20, 2018. 

Some commentators are confident a Manafort conviction will be followed by a pardon; one way or another, it will be followed by the next federal trial of Manafort, in Washington, D.C., beginning September 14, 2018.  The prosecution's Virginia case, document-heavy by any standard, featured 10 boxes holding nearly 400 exhibits.  For the D.C. case, Mueller's team has already submitted more than 1,000.

(Art by Andrea McHale, a special-education teacher in New York City; lettering by Alex Mannos, a graphic artist in Sacramento, California.  The coloring page is subject to a Creative Commons license as below.)