Manafort Judge Instructs Prosecutors Not to 'Gild the Lily'

Judge likely won't allow pictures of flashy clothes to be shown to jurors
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2018 5:30 PM CDT
Manafort Judge Instructs Prosecutors Not to 'Gild the Lily'
Behold, Paul Manafort's $15,000 jacket made of ostrich.   (Department of Justice via AP)

Paul Manafort's bookkeeper took the stand on day three of the former Trump campaign chairman's trial on bank and tax fraud charges, but the buzzier portion of the day saw the judge instructing prosecutors not to "gild the lily" when it came to Manafort's luxurious lifestyle. Prosecutors have been painting a picture of a man who lived the high life by, they say, avoiding taxes on millions of dollars in "secret income." They wanted to show pictures of his flashy suits and other expenditures in court, but Judge TS Ellis III said Thursday he's not likely to allow that because it could unfairly "besmirch the defendant," NBC News reports. "It could engender bias against rich people," Ellis continued, adding that there is no need to "gild the lily."

That doesn't mean Manafort's extravagant lifestyle wasn't mentioned: A landscaper who did work at Manafort's Bridgehampton, New York, home testified that Manafort spent about $450,000 on landscaping over a period of five years, CNN reports. In addition to having tennis courts, hundreds of flowers, 14-foot hedges, and "one of the biggest ponds in the Hamptons" complete with a waterfall feature, the landscaper said the property featured a red-and-white flower bed in the shape of an "M." Jurors also heard about a $10,000 karaoke system Manafort purchased using international wire transfers, and $2.2 million in electronics installed at five of his properties between 2011 and 2014. Manafort's accountant is expected to testify Friday, the Washington Post reports. (More Paul Manafort stories.)

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