Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort goes on trial for bank fraud

Another Narrative Busted: The Focus of Manafort's Upcoming Trial Will Make Liberals Very Sad

The trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, has begun in Virginia. The attorneys have "memoranda, emails, and photos reflecting tasks performed" to demonstrate the source of a large part of Manafort's income, CNN reports.

Manafort is the only American charged by Mueller to opt for a trial.

Manafort is accused of financial crimes, including bank fraud and tax evasion, relating to his lobbying work for the government of Ukraine.

This is the first of two trials for Manafort.

Zehnle made it clear that attacking the credibility of Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation, would be a central plank of the defence.

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. 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.

Jury selection begins Tuesday.

"A$3 s a result of time consuming trial preparation for that matter (which the Special Counsel has estimated will last approximately three weeks), Mr. Manafort requires additional time to confer with the Special Counsel regarding the contents of the Joint Pretrial Statement in this matter".

Protesters hold their banners in front of the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Virginia on day one of Paul Manafort's trial.

More news: Donald Trump threatens government shutdown over immigration, border security

Legal experts said Manafort may be hoping to be found not guilty - or holding out hopes of a presidential pardon. Manafort faces 32 counts of filing false tax returns and bank fraud stemming from his work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader. Mueller says Manafort et al., should be able to juggle all of this just fine and finish their homework in a week.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who's hearing the case, has previously questioned how Manafort's fraud charges relate to Mueller's investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The outcome of the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, could affect the momentum of Mr. Mueller's 14-month-long investigation into interference in the 2016 election, even though the charges cite activities that predate the Trump campaign and don't relate to any potential allegations of collusion with Russian Federation by Trump associates.

Of Manafort's associates, like longtime deputy Rick Gates, Zehnle said, "he trusted them to speak with one another and make sure things were done right".

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

Three other former Trump aides, including Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with Mueller's probe.

Prosecutors say Manafort made $60 million from his work.

Following this trial, Manafort will face a second trial in Washington in September with more explosive charges, including conspiracy against the United States, failure to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice.

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