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

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

But what is expected to be missing from the trial, which begins on Tuesday (US time), will be answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election or any mention of Russian Federation at all. That trial, set in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that the longtime political consultant acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the US government.

His lawyers are seeking to exclude evidence at trial that details Mr Manafort's political lobbying work in Ukraine, saying it would be "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming".

Paul Manafort's financial crimes trial, the first arising from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, will centre on his Ukrainian consulting work and only briefly touch on his involvement with the president's campaign.

The trial against Manafort, focused on tax and bank fraud, is set to begin juror selection this Tuesday.

The focus on Manafort's personal dealings, rather than Russian Federation, aren't surprising considering the Special Counsel indictment didn't mention the Kremlin, the 2016 presidential election or collusion a single time.

When Yanukovych fled to Russia, Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates experienced a severe cash crunch, and the men allegedly began leveraging real estate to take out new loans, providing false or incomplete profit and loss statements and other data to banks.

Adding to the intrigue is the expected spectacle of Manafort's deputy, Rick Gates, testifying against him after cutting a plea deal with prosecutors, and the speculation that Manafort, who faces charges in two different courts and decades in prison if convicted, may be holding out for a pardon from Trump. He is the only American charged by Mueller to opt for a trial. One of the judges, T.S. Ellis, said prosecutors rightfully "followed the money paid by pro-Russian officials" to Manafort. 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.

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.

"To the extent that public opinion affects the Mueller probe, he'll then have to ask himself whether he needs to change course", said Barak Cohen, a former federal corruption prosecutor. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.

His testimony will be significant for "helping to explain how the puzzle pieces all fit together", Little said, particularly as Gates worked so closely with Manafort.

In the Washington case, a federal judge last month ordered Mr Manafort be jailed after Mr Mueller charged him with witness-tampering, charges to which he pleaded not guilty.



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