Manafort is first ex-Trump aide on trial in Russian Federation probe

The U.S. District Courthouse is seen ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in

Manafort is first ex-Trump aide on trial in Russian Federation probe

Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial.

Manafort, a veteran Republican political consultant, served as chairman of Trump's presidential election campaign for three months in 2016 before being forced to step down amid questions about his lobbying work in Ukraine.

"The government expects to prove that Manafort earned more than $60 million dollars from his Ukraine work during the period at issue and failed to report a significant percentage of it on his tax returns", prosecutors wrote.

He said that arrangement was not Manafort's doing but was instead the preferred method of payment of the supporters of the pro-Russia Ukrainian political party who were paying his consulting fees.

After Yanukovych was deposed in 2014 and their Ukrainian income dwindled, Manafort and Gates allegedly came up with another scheme to obtain money: the two used their real estate properties in the collateral to fraudulently secure more than $20 million in bank loans by "falsely inflating" their income.

"Paul Manafort traveled in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said.

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"You really don't care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud ..." That left a jury of 12 and four additional alternate jurors, who were sworn in as Mr. Manafort looked on wearing a dark suit.

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.

He warned jurors not to believe Gates when he testifies against Manafort.

While Gates and others, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and has insisted on having his day in court.

During his opening statement, Assistant US Attorney Uzo Asonye told the jury that Mr Manafort considered himself above the law as he funnelled tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts. Prosecutors say he falsely indicated he didn't have bank accounts in foreign countries and underreported his earnings to limit his taxable income.

Before jury selection got underway, Ellis said he did not plan to offer decisions on Tuesday about all of the documents that Manafort's team wants to keep out of the trial.

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Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

But according to a new report from the Associated Press, they're likely to be disappointed as the trial will focus on Manafort's business dealings and lavish lifestyle, not collusion (bolding is mine).

Prosecutors also charged another one of his associates, Konstantin Kilimnik, with working with Manafort to try to tamper with the potential witnesses.

Ellis said he thinks "the government's correct" in using the documents to broadly show how Manafort made his money. Manafort has filed a motion to have details of that work excluded from trial.

The appellate judges said Manafort was rightfully jailed because he had decided "to push the envelope by contributing to an op-ed in a foreign newspaper" while under a gag order, and also had "repeated communications with potential witnesses" for his upcoming trial. A separate Washington, D.C. trial is scheduled to begin in September.

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