In opening statements that kicked off the trial of Paul Manafort on Tuesday, prosecutors accused former Trump campaign chairman of being a “shrewd” liar who orchestrated a global scheme to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars. Uzo Asonye, a prosecutor working on the case with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, said Manafort lived an “extravagant lifestyle” fueled by millions of dollars in “secret income” that he earned from his lobbying in Ukraine. In opening statements for the defense, Manafort’s defense attorney Thomas Zehnle shifted much of the blame to the Ukrainian oligarchs Manafort worked for and the business associates he worked with. Manafort is facing 18 charges, including accusations of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts and defrauding several banks. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 305 years in prison. He has denied all charges.
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