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First Day Of Second Ron Paul Staffers' Trial

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

The conspiracy trial of three senior staffers from Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign had its first full day of testimony on Wednesday.  Campaign Chair Jesse Benton, Campaign Manager John Tate, and Deputy Campaign Manager Demitiri Kesari are accused of using a third party to disguise payments made to former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in exchange for his endorsement of Ron Paul.

Justice Department lawyers began the arduous task of using emails, invoices, non-disclosure agreements and campaign finance reports to attempt to prove the trio's guilt. Most of the day was spent with the campaigns's assistant controller Fernando Cortes-Lira. Cortes-Lira told other staffers that Kesari was "not a good guy" in one of the emails admitted into evidence. 

The defense attempted to punch holes in the prosecution’s narrative. It’s aiming to do this in part by saying since the senior staffers were employed on the political side of the Paul campaign, they were ignorant of the inner-workings of the organization’s finances.

This is the second time the staffers have been indicted. A trial in October ended with a hung jury. The trial is expected to stretch into next week.