Finally, some real live court action. Finally, Paulie Slimaforte gets his due process in front of a jury of his peers. This is just one of two trials for The Don’s former campaign manager This trial will be one of those classic ‘follow the money” deals. Anyone who is a fan of cop or detective shows knows that where there is smoke there is money.
Mr. Manafort faces 32 charges of bank and tax fraud largely stemming from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine and predating the campaign. According to the prosecution, Slime man was paid over $60 million for his work helping Putin puppet, Viktor Yanukovych, become President of Ukraine. Call it a coincidence, but the frenzy of spending appeared to kick off in early 2010, just months after Yanukovych became president.
A little background on the history of Manafort’s lobbying over the years is in order to give you a sense of what a greedy, immoral slime ball he is. According to Betsy Woodruff and Tim Mak of The Daily Beast, Manafort’s lobbying has serviced “a rogue’s gallery of clients far away from D.C.’s genteel corridors of power: dictators, guerrilla groups and despots with no regard for human rights — including one man responsible for mass amputations and another who oversaw state-sanctioned rape.”
A 1992 report from the Center for Public Integrity listed Black, Manafort, Stone, (the infamous Roger) and Kelly as one of the lobbying firms to profit the most by doing business with foreign governments that violated their people’s human rights. From 1991 to 1992, the firm made $3.3 million from what the Center for Public Integrity dubbed “the torturers’ lobby.” “When queried about these connections Murderfort has been thought to say: “Despots and dictators have lots of cash and someone’s got to do it. Why not us?”
The case the prosecution will present will be pretty straightforward: where did all the money come from to support Slimaforte’s lavish lifestyle?
We are being told that the prosecution will refrain from addressing the witch-hunt called the Russia investigation, where things like no collusion, no collusion, no obstruction, no obstruction are pertinent.
But hold on. What about the fact that Mr. Slimafort joined The Don’s campaign for free? He just happened to be in the hood and thought “I am between gigs and am looking for another Putin puppet (The Don) to work with as the work has been very rewarding. And soiling on my own soil would be an honor and my crown achievement!” Slimafort also just happened to be in deep financial trouble and found a way to get a 16 million dollar loan from a Chicago Bank by promising the CEO, Stephen Calk, a position in the The Don’s administration. Calk will be testifying at Manafort’s trial!
Leaving Russia out of it might prove difficult, as there is the matter of his business dealings with Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who has close ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. By 2016, Mr. Deripaska was suing Mr. Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, for tens of millions of dollars he owed him. Takes a lot of nerve to stiff a Russian oligarch; they usually don’t take kindly to these kind of things!
So what was Manatraitor to do?
Just before the Republican National Convention, Mr. Manafort sought to get a message to Mr. Deripaska offering “private briefings” about the presidential race. Mr. Manafort tried to pass that message to Mr. Deripaska through Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian citizen whose relationship with Mr. Manafort has figured repeatedly in court filings by Mr. Mueller’s team. So happens Mr. Kilimnik had active ties to a Russian intelligence service — including during 2016, when he was in contact with both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates: private briefings for money, right up Manatraitor’s alley.
The Associated Press uncovered an email that showed that Mr. Manafort tried to Deripaska a plan for an influence campaign to “greatly benefit the Putin government.”
So you tell me how Russia stays out of this?
But back to the money trail. Prosecution will paint Slimafort as a man driven by greed, adept at lies and shrewd enough to cover his tracks with false invoices, sham companies and wire transfers from financial institutions in a city in Cyprus that his vendors in the United States had never heard of.
Let’s look at a few of these egregious transactions.
According to the manager of Alan Couture, a high-end men’s wear boutique in Manhattan, Manafort was one of his top five customers, spending more than $900,000, paid by wire transfer, over five years ending in 2014. From a favorite store in California he even purchased a $33,000 blue lizard jacket. (But his $15,000 Ostrich jacket wins the prize. If he goes to jail he can become the “Bird man of Sing Sing.)
Self disclosure: I am a t-shirt-and-shorts kind of guy in summer, and jeans the rest of the year, so clothing is not my thing, but spending $900,000? Can you imagine the shock of the jury members when they hear those numbers? The jury members are going to feel like real schlumps. and that could get them mad. There are probably congressional districts in the U.S.–let’s say in Appalachia (Trump country) where the total cost of every article of clothing owned by the constituents doesn’t add up to what Manafort spent!
Can’t wait to hear from the landscaper. Mr. Slime oozed out $500,000 on less than two years’ worth of landscaping at his home in the Hamptons (including over $9,000 for hydrangeas and $8,000 just to keep his lawn mowed. But the flower bed M is definitely my favorite piece of landscaping.
But my favorite Moneyforte purchase is the $18,000 spent on a karaoke machine and related equipment for his vacation home in Bridge Hampton, New York. After all, if you are going to spend $500,000 on landscaping you can’t go without that kind of karaoke system. It would be unconscionable. What would the neighbors think?
The court filing includes invoices from New York Sensoryphile, Inc. to Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, show that she was billed for approximately $8,000 and then around $10,000 later, for the machine itself, plus song packages, microphone stands, installation costs, and even a fancy touchscreen remote. Manafort’s “karaoke song package” alone cost $950, according to the receipts.
Manafort must have thrown some wild and crazy parties. For a moment, let’s pretend one evening he decided to celebrate the infamous nothing-burger meeting he, Jared and Don Jr. had in June of 2016 with Russians hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. The guest list included: Jarod, Ivanka, Mike Flynn, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, Don Jr. Perhaps even a few Russians were snuck in through the back entrance? Oysters were plentiful, the champagne flowed and the volume on the the karaoke machine was turned high.
They were so drunk they didn’t realize the Russians had taken over the Karaoke machine and were punching in the songs. Ivanka had just finished a thrilling rendition of “I Will Survive,” by Donna Summer. Then things got interesting.
To their surprise the next sone was “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis, which got them up dancing and singing all together.
That was followed by “Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Then in a moment of complete insanity Manafort, Kushner and Don Jr. took off their Rolex’s, stripped down to their underwear and started rapping to Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was The Case.”
The group broke out in to hysterical laughter. Ivanka commented: “Isn’t it funny that the last three songs are about prison?”
More laughter. More bubbly. Man that karaoke machine was buzzing, worth every nickel of that 18 grand.
The Russians were smirking quietly sipping on Vodka. No bubbly for them.
Then they cued up the next song.
Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.”
After they sing their hearts out there is a knock on the door. It is the FBI. They are laughing hysterically. Ivanka yells: “Look, it’s the FBI. They are going to take us to prison”. Everyone starts laughing hysterically. The FBI looks at them solemnly and says, “Party’s over, the next song you will be singing will be in upstate New York in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility”.
I wonder if they have a karaoke machine in Sing Sing?