ALEXANDRIA, VA — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team called its second witness to the stand Wednesday morning in former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s trial here, Democratic political consultant Daniel Rabin.
Rabin testified that he worked with Manafort on projects in Ukraine from 2006 to 2014 on television ads, media strategy, and messaging for a parliamentary campaign and for Viktor Yanukovych’s presidential campaign.
Rabin revealed that while Manafort paid him for most of his work and expenses, he was left with one unpaid invoice from one of Manafort’s company in 2014 for $31,000.
Prompted by Greg Andres, the lawyer arguing for Mueller’s team, Rabin described Manafort as “thorough” and “strict” while running campaigns. Rabin called Gates Manafort’s “gatekeeper,” who managed invoices, approved expenses for other consultants and passed information on to Manafort.
During Rabin’s testimony, the lawyers for Manafort objected to Andres admitting a picture of Yanukovych into the record, something that Manafort’s legal team tried to prevent ahead of trial. Ellis called the lawyers to the bench for a five-minute discussion that the rest of the courtroom could not hear, and he allowed one of the three photos of Yanukovych to be admitted. The photo depicted Yanukovich with Rabin, another consultant who worked with Manafort, and others, on set before a political commercial shoot, according to Rabin’s testimony.
Andres’ questioning of Rabin appeared to be aimed at establishing Manafort’s Ukraine work, in a similar fashion to Tad Devine’s testimony on Tuesday.
In cross examination, Richard Westling, the lawyer arguing for Manafort, asked questions that seemed aimed at establishing Manafort as a “talented political consultant” who generally paid Rabin for his work. He also asked if Gates handled invoices, as well as the business side and logistics of Manafort’s work. Rabin said that Gates and another Manafort employee handled invoices.
Manafort is facing bank and tax fraud charges stemming from his political work in Ukraine. He has pleaded not guilty.