Special prosecutor/counsel Robert Mueller has officially requested a trial date for former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, according to a new report, confirmed by multiple sources.
In a court filing filed today, Mueller’s team called for an exact trial date of May 14, confirmed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Manafort and Gates were indicted last year on charges of money laundering and tax fraud.
Mueller’s team charges that Manafort and Gates were paid tens of millions of dollars for their work for the Ukrainian officials, then laundered the money “in order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities.”
This is a bright signal that Mueller is about to start putting a big part of his case into the public record. Once things are admitted as evidence, they start existing on a whole new level of publicity.
They have enough evidence to convict Manafort just on paper without needing to call witnesses. That is probably exactly what they will do. Mueller doesn’t want to show too much evidence at a trial because then Trump will know what he has and does not have.
Mueller may have expected Manafort to have already flipped by now but Manafort has decided play hard ball instead, such as actually trying to sue Mueller himself. Now Mueller has to bring the hammer of justice down on Manafort and force Manafort to chose between years in prison or flipping. If Manafort can’t beat Mueller in court then he will be forced to flip, go to jail or beg Trump for a pardon.
Important to note is that May 14 will be when the trial starts, but it’s probably going to take at least a week or two. Since it’s federal, there won’t be any cameras in the courtroom. We’ll just have to wait until the verdict.