H-F grad heading up prosecution in Manafort’s bank fraud, tax evasion trial

A Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate is leading the prosecution against Paul Manafort, a former high-ranking member of President Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Manafort’s federal court trial for bank fraud and tax evasion started this week.

Uzo Asonye, an assistant United States attorney, is a 1998 H-F graduate, said Ann Cherry, the high school’s director of development and alumni relations.

Asonye is also deputy chief of the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was brought onto the special counsel’s staff from the Alexandria, Virginia, federal prosecutor’s office for the case against Manafort.

Manafort’s trial began July 31 in Alexandria. He is facing charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. The trial is the first courtroom test of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman that year.

In opening arguments on Tuesday, Asonye laid out the government’s case against Manafort. In a headline, the Washington Post referred to Asonye as a “scorched earth prosecutor.”

Asonye grew up in Flossmoor. His younger sister Chidinma also attended H-F, graduating in 2000, Cherry said. In his high school yearbook, he is referred to as Uzodinma, his full first name.

During his years at H-F he participated in the marching band, symphonic band and Viking ensemble. He was also a member of the National Honor Society.

After graduating from H-F, he attended Cornell University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 2002. He then went to the Yale University School of Law, graduating in 2005.

Prior to working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Asonye was an associate in the White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Unit with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Cherry said the Class of 1998 is hosting its 20-year reunion during the coming weekend “but it is highly doubtful that he'll be in attendance.”

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