Paul Manafort’s first trial begins this week Here’s what to expect

This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of US district Judge T.S Ellis III, and the jury during the jury selection of his trial in Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2018.

But Uzo Asonye, an attorney with the special counsel's office, told jurors that Manafort considered himself above the law, and resorted to bank fraud when his overseas income couldn't support his lifestyle.

Prosecutors say President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman orchestrated a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to evade USA tax and banking laws, leaving behind a trail of lies as he lived a lavish lifestyle. Gates pleaded guilty in February to conspiring against the United States and lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Paul Manafort, left, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, walks with this wife Kathleen Manafort, as they arrive at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in March.

"Unfortunately, his trust in Rick Gates was misplaced", Zehnle said.


Manafort, the lone American charged by Mueller who has opted to stand trial instead of cooperate with prosecutors, was described by his defense lawyer as a hugely successful worldwide political consultant who left the details of his finances to others. But federal judges overseeing both cases have upheld Mueller's authority to investigate and prosecute Manafort.

Gates is also expected to play a key role in Manafort's second trial, scheduled for September.

Paul Manafort is being tried in Alexandria, Va., on 18 counts of tax and bank fraud.

And there's always the possibility that Manafort could take a plea deal during the trial if his defense falls apart, opting for a lighter sentence in exchange of telling Mueller's team anything he may know about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Some documents are necessary to show Manafort's connections with those consultants, prosecutors say. It will feature testimony about the business dealings and foreign ties of a defendant Trump entrusted to run his campaign during a critical stretch in 2016, including during the Republican convention. The president has criticized past administrations for not divulging information about his former campaign manager Paul Manafort's alleged crimes.

Legal experts said Manafort may be hoping to be found not guilty - or holding out hopes of a presidential pardon.


A total of 16 jurors, 12 regular and four alternates, will be chosen after being screened for potential bias.

But Gates kept his name on them "so he could keep control", he said.

Today, Trump is invoking one of the nation's most notorious criminals in venting about the treatment of Manafort as he begins trial. "He worked for me for a very short time".

He has also put distance between himself and Mr Manafort's charges, saying in a tweet: "This is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign".

The sharp words marked a dramatic opening to the trial, in keeping with the notoriously fast-moving Eastern District Court of Virginia, which lawyers often refer to as home to the "rocket docket". It involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the US government. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.


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