Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Paul Manafort trial is first court test for special counsel Robert Mueller

Paul Manafort trial is first court test for special counsel Robert Mueller

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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

Gates was named as a co-defendant in the initial indictment handed down against Manafort last October.

Prosecutors plan to produce almost three dozen witnesses during the trial, including Manafort's former associate Richard Gates, who is cooperating with the government after pleading guilty to lesser charges in February.

Yanukovych's ouster in 2014 is relevant, the special counsel says, "because it explains Manafort's work for a different political party (the Opposition Bloc) and why his income later drops dramatically, which is relevant to the bank frauds that he later committed".

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 US tax officials and allegedly laundered more than $18 million in proceeds.

Manafort was indicted along with Gates in Mueller's wide-ranging investigation, but he is the only American charged to opt for a trial instead of co-operating with the government. The added evidence also appears to include documents related to bank accounts in Cyprus.

It's expected to be rich with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into Manafort's pocket.

WASHINGTON-Two questions loom large as Paul Manafort prepares to walk into a federal courtroom Tuesday: Will Donald Trump's former campaign chairman spend what effectively could be the rest of his life in prison?

The results of the questionnaires were placed under seal, with copies being given to both sides for use in the jury selection process this week.

That task comes as the president and his lawyer-spokesperson, Rudy Giuliani, have intensified their attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation in the court of public opinion and as the USA president continues to waffle on whether he'll sit for a private interview with prosecutors. But he was ensnared in the Russian Federation investigation previous year after Mueller began examining ties between Trump campaign staff and Russian Federation. Manafort worked on Trump's presidential campaign for five months and attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians that is a focal point of Mueller's probe into possible collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin.

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". Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is expected to testify against his former mentor.

"I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case".

Paul Manafort is scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges relating to money laundering stemming from Ukrainian political consulting. The charges were brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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