Ex-Trump aide Manafort goes on trial in Russian Federation probe

Ex-Trump aide Manafort goes on trial in Russian Federation probe

The indictment was brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who is looking into Russian meddling in the presidential election, but the charges are not connected to Manafort's time as Trump's campaign chairman.

Manafort was in charge of Trump's campaign when the NY real estate developer accepted the party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in 2016. And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Mr Manafort's lavish spending on suits, homes and luxury items did not match the income declared on his tax returns and that he misled lenders when he borrowed tens of millions of dollars against NY real estate.

Prosecutors have said they don't plan to offer evidence related to the Russian Federation case, and that references to Manafort's association with the Trump campaign will be limited. Of the four former Trump aides ensnared in the probe, Manafort is the only one to go to trial.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current "antipathy" toward Russia and how "most people in this country don't distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians".

Most tax and bank fraud cases are built on stacks of bland business documents and Internal Revenue Service paperwork - hardly the stuff of global intrigue. Having his former campaign chairman, who helped run Trump's campaign at a critical point of the election, in the news so consistently shines a negative light on him.

Opening arguments are slated to begin Tuesday afternoon following the final selection of jury members.

Manafort's attorneys last week fingered over 50 exhibits included on a proposed government list as prejudicial and irrelevant and asked the judge to disallow them from his trial, set to begin with jury selection on Tuesday.

It's what may not come up much during the trial in Alexandria, Va., that will draw attention from all over the world: Manafort's work for candidate Donald Trump for a critical period in 2016 when Trump clinched the Republican nomination for president.

The trial will give the public the most detailed glimpse yet into a part of the Mueller investigation. Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: "This would be a very bad thing to do now".

"What they claim is they looked at that conduct, is that the Justice Department did and opted not to prosecute him". Gates, who worked alongside Manafort as a political consultant, was indicted along with Manafort in October 2017. Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is expected to testify against his former mentor. Three Russian companies have also been charged.

Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, all have pleaded guilty.

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