Mueller Team Calls Dem Consultant Tad Devine As First Witness In Manafort Trial

The Washington Post/The Washington Post

The first day of Paul Manafort’s trial in Virginia ended Tuesday evening with testimony from Tad Devine, a Democratic political consultant who worked with Manafort on campaigns in Ukraine.

The opening day of trial took off like a shot, with jury selection done by early afternoon, opening statements over in an hour and the first witness called and cross examined, all before 6 p.m. ET.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis made a point to move the proceedings along as quickly as possible, appearing frustrated with the lawyers if it seemed that they were taking too long.

Throughout Devine’s testimony, Greg Andres, the lawyer arguing for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, asked questions about Devine’s work in Ukraine with Manafort. Andres’ questions appeared aimed at establishing the political work Manafort was doing in Ukraine for the Party of Regions, and that Devine was being paid by Manafort.

During his testimony, Devine revealed that he earned $500,000 as part of a 2009 consulting agreement for his work on Viktor Yanukovych’s 2010 presidential run in Ukraine. Devine also revealed that he earned an additional $100,000 after Yanukovych won the election in 2010. Devine said that his firm was paid by Manafort’s company via wire transfer but that he was unsure whether it was from a foreign bank account.

Devine told Andres that he worked on media and speechwriting for campaigns in Ukraine, and he listed other American consultants who worked with him, including Daniel Rabin, another person listed as a potential witness, and Tony Fabrizio, a polling consultant who later went on to work for Donald Trump’s campaign. Devine also said that Manafort worked with Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s business counterpart in Ukraine.

In cross examination, defense lawyer Richard Westling asked questions that appeared to be aimed at establishing Manafort’s work in Ukraine as legitimate and noble. He asked Devine whether he thought highly of Manafort, to which Devine replied that he did. Westling characterized the Party of Regions’ efforts that Manafort worked on as an effort to open Ukraine up to Western alliances.

Westling asked Devine about Manafort deputy Richard Gates, specifically whether it was part of Gates’ job to manage Manafort’s business operations in the U.S. while he was abroad, as well as to handle the business side of things in general. Devine replied that he believed those tasks were part of Gates’ role.

After cross examination, Andres asked one final question: whether Devine had a bank account in Cyprus. After an objection from the defense, Ellis allowed the question, and Devine said that he did not have such an account.

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