Jill Wine-Banks and Joyce Vance on Manafort Trial.

Jill Wine-Banks brought up a couple of really good points — in my humble non-lawyer opinion — on MSBNC today with regards to the start of the Paul Manafort trial.

  • If Manafort is broke, who is paying his legal fees?
  • If Rick Gates has embezzled all of Manafort’s money from their business ventures, where is the money?  According to Wine-Banks, Gates says he is financially broke.  

I have no transcript for this yet.  It was on the All In With Chris Hayes Show.

Wine-Banks followed up on the second question by pointing out it wrecks Manafort’s defense.  I think Mueller and his people would have said that Gates was sitting on a pile of embezzled money.  And I haven’t read about anything indicating that Gates has all that cash. 

And Wine-Banks says that Gates is broke.  I haven’t been able to find a link yet that specifically says anything about Gates’ financials, but I did find that Gates made a fundraising video for his legal defense before the plea agreement.  Besides pissing off the judge at the time, it appears that the fundraiser was a bust:

A sparsely-attended gathering to raise money for the legal defense of Rick Gates, a lobbyist and former Trump campaign official facing trial in a high-profile money laundering prosecution stemming from the ongoing Russia probe, has landed Gates in hot water with the federal judge overseeing the case.


Press reports say journalists outnumbered potential donors at the Tuesday event, held in a Holiday Inn function room.

Now, Joyce Vance was on the Rachel Maddow Show, and she went over the three theories on why Manafort has not flipped.  I’ll reprise them again.

  • Deripaska or Putin will kill him if he talks. 
  • Trump is going to run to his rescue with a pardon.
  • Manafort is arrogant enough to think he can beat these indictments.

I believe from Vance’s demeanor to that last point that she is leaning toward this theory.  And I have to say that I think this may be the simplest explanation.  As outlined by Mueller’s team, Manafort has been above the law for YEARS, so Manafort is used to committing financial crimes with no consequences.  Manafort has been able to grift for years, and he probably thinks the magic is going to happen ONE more time.

Yes, it is a peronsal and a legal analysis of Manafort’s situation, but it might actually be the simplest.  Ask some defenese lawyers if they have ever had an arrogant client who rolls the dice in hopes of beating the odds.  Ask them how well their idiot client did.  And he did try witness tampering.

In the end, this may come down to a lying, greedy, corrupt old man thinking there is one more angle to play to get him at all of this shit.