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FEATURING KEVIN GOSZTOLA – The first trial of the Special Counsel’s investigation is wrapping up. On Friday the federal government’s trial against Donald Trump’s former campaign Paul Manafort wound down. Manafort, who has an ugly history outside the US of helping to elect dictators and demagogues, faced multiple charges of tax and bank fraud. He chose to take the case to trial rather than settle. Among those testifying against him was his former right-hand man, Rick Gates, who was also an aide in the Trump campaign.

The judge in the case, T.S. Ellis III displayed anger at prosecutors throughout the trial, even going as far as losing his temper over allowing a witness to remain in the courtroom. After he realized he had approved of the witness remaining, he apologized but prosecutors feared that the jury was now prejudiced against the witness in question.

It was not expected for the President to figure in this particular trial but his name did come up several times. Trump has repeatedly denounced the Special Counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” and a “hoax.” He did admit as the Manafort trial was playing out that his son’s 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer was about obtaining opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, Unauthorized Disclosure.

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