Paul Manafort, ex-Trump campaign chief, to begin trial

Manafort trial to shed light on Mueller probe evidence

According to the report, special counsel Robert Mueller's case is focused exclusively on accusations that Manafort committed financial crimes, ranging from tax evasion to bank fraud, that have no direct ties to his campaign work.

It is the first full tally provided by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, of Mr Manafort's income from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Manafort's work for the pro-Russian government in Ukraine plays a central role in the allegations against him, since prosecutors say he concealed income from that work from USA tax officials and allegedly laundered more than $18 million in proceeds.

Of Manafort's Ukraine endeavors, where he advised the pro-Russian Party of Regions and ex-President Victor Yanukovych, Zehnle said the "focus" of Manafort and his associates efforts "was to bring the country closer to western democracy".

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. There are 35 potential witnesses, many of them bankers and accountants expected to verify documents and speak to Manafort's alleged intent to violate the law.

Mr Manafort quit Mr Trump's team in August 2016. Four alternate jurors, three women and one man, also were chosen.

One potential witness was even told to be cautious when speaking of Manafort's NY residence - he owns a condominium in Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, sources told ABC News.

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.

Gates has since pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors with their case, as one of the government's star witnesses.

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He's the only American charged in the Mueller probe to opt for a trial.

Manafort lived an "extravagant lifestyle" fueled by millions of dollars in "secret income" that he earned from his lobbying in Ukraine, said Uzo Asonye, a prosecutor working on the case with special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Manafort, who has been jailed for almost two months, wore a black suit and appeared fully engaged in his defense, whispering with his attorneys during jury selection and scribbling notes as the prosecution began its opening statement.

Manafort is also charged in federal court in Washington with undisclosed foreign lobbying and money laundering.

Ellis said he thinks "the government's correct" in using the documents to broadly show how Manafort made his money.

Mueller's team has estimated it could take eight to 10 days to present its case to the jury, suggesting the trial may last at least three weeks. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Manafort was initially ordered to remain under house arrest as he awaited trial, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the case in the District of Columbia, sent him to jail in June after prosecutors flagged evidence that Manafort had been trying to influence the testimony of potential witnesses.

The trial, starting with selection of a 12-member jury, coincides with growing speculation that Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen may cooperate with federal investigators against the president.

He faces additional charges in district court in Washington DC.

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