Trial begins for Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort

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Manafort faces 18 charges alleging a series of financial crimes in this case, including filing false income tax returns, bank fraud conspiracy, failing to report foreign bank accounts and bank fraud.

Asonye said Manafort didn't just lie to the Internal Revenue Service.

President Trump has wavered between showing sympathy for Mr Manafort and trying to distance himself.

Of all the Americans charged so far in the Mueller Investigation, Mr Manafort is the first to end up on trial - on charges of financial fraud.

- The trial of President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman will open this week with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into the political consultant's pocket.

"That's not the American way", Ellis said. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well. Having his former campaign chairman, who helped run Trump's campaign at a critical point of the election, in the news so consistently shines a negative light on him. He is expected to be the government's star witness.

At the centre of much of the trial will be another Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, who spent years working for Manafort in Ukraine and is also accused of helping him falsify paperwork used to obtain the bank loans. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 305 years in prison. He denies the charges.

Manafort, 69, was seated in the courtroom wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie.

To demonstrate Manafort's lavish spending habits, Asonye told jurors that Manafort owned several homes, acquired real estate in NY and Virginia, bought expensive cars and watches, and even got a $15,000 jacket "made from an ostrich".

Ellis told them to submit arguments in writing.

That drew a sharp rebuke from Judge Ellis. There are also four alternates, three women and a man. They were selected from a pool of 65 potential jurors, in a jury selection process that moved more quickly than anticipated.

The pool was also almost evenly split between men and women. Most were comfortably middle-aged.

They are moving through witnesses on a case-by-case basis as they suss out which evidence to present before the jury.

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Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, has indicated that Mr Trump could pardon Mr Manafort should he be found guilty.

"A man in this courtroom believed the law did not apply to him".

An activist holds a picture of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse. Prosecutors are not expected to address the question of collusion, but Manafort's case is widely viewed as a test to the legitimacy of Mueller's probe, which Trump has called a "witch hunt". "This trial obviously centers on matters that have nothing to do with the campaign".

Pres. Trump speaks at an event in Tampa, Fla on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

The trial is expected to take about three weeks. Prosecutors appeared to be using his testimony to establish the nature of Manafort's work in Ukraine.

But Zehnle said there was no evidence that Manafort ever meant to deceive the IRS.

Gates and Manafort worked closely together for years, including in Ukraine, and they were indicted at the same time by Mueller.

There are two core allegations against Manafort in the case being tried in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tuesday's ruling from a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous.

The former Trump campaign head was ordered to jail by a judge on new charges that he was tampering with witnesses.

While the trial may touch on Manafort's communications during the campaign with his partners in the former Soviet bloc, the trial is not expected to focus on campaign ties to Russian Federation.

In brief testimony, the controller of a Mercedes Benz dealership in Alexandria, Virginia, described Manafort purchasing a auto using a wire transfer to pay the balance due, after a trade in, of $62,750.

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