Manafort Trial, Week One

Former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort’s bank and tax fraud trial got off to a quick start this week in Alexandria’s “rocket docket” federal court. Judge T.S. Ellis, who yesterday quipped that he was a “Caesar in my own Rome” kept things moving along. Jury selection, which many expected to take a couple of days, was completed by early afternoon of the first day followed by opening statements and the first witness.

This first week’s sketches are posted below, more or less in chronological order. The trial’s star witness, Rick Gates, is expected to be called to testify early next week and the government has said it will rest by the end of the week. Keeping my fingers crossed that Gates won’t take the stand till Tuesday as I have jury duty – don’t you know – in Baltimore on Monday.


Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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12 comments on “Manafort Trial, Week One
  1. Avatar artbymeera says:

    These are great! Who know- you may not be picked for jury panel or we will get see some other court proceedings from a different angel ;) All the best !

  2. Avatar mandy says:

    These are great, Art. You really take us into the courtroom.

    Tell Mr. Manafort I said, Womp womp, ok? Thanks. m

  3. Avatar Kathryn Mathias says:

    I feel as though I’m there, in the courtroom. You manage to marry the aesthetics of fine art, with the psychology of the participants & observers within the room.

  4. Avatar Casey says:

    Thank you for illuminating the courtroom of the Manafort trial. Having such insightful visuals allows us to experience the high drama playing out as if it were a graphic novel. I appreciate your incredible talent.

  5. Wonderful drawings full of energy. I do a lot of sketching and know how hard it is to do. I thought about going to draw our local NSA person Reality Winters who is getting sentenced here tomorrow I think. I would only hope to get something half as good as yours!! Keep it up. Loving your sketches on MSNBC!!

  6. Avatar Mary Hoburg says:

    Your stunning art and heart touches us deeply each day. Thank you for being our most amazing camera. Thank you!

  7. Not an easy thing, capturing a likeness in real time with the pressure on and the eyes of a nation watching, but you are producing such a valuable historical document! Great work!

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