Manafort trial to shed light on Mueller probe evidence

Mr Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current "antipathy" toward Russia and how "most people in this country don't distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians".

Mr Mueller's team has estimated it could take eight to 10 days to present its case to the jury, suggesting the trial may last at least three weeks.

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.

Manafort is charged with bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy for a Manhattan condo loan of $3.4 million, allegedly falsely saying it wasn't a rental property to maximize the amount he borrowed.

Asonye said Manafort created "bogus" loans, falsified documents and lied to his tax preparer and bookkeeper to hide the money, which he obtained from Ukrainian oligarchs through a series of shell company transfers and later from fraudulently obtained bank loans in the U.S.

The special counsel has also enlisted as many as 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort.

As campaign manager, Manafort was responsible for all aspects of Trump's White House bid, including shoring up delegate support.

He said Mr Trump could help the public understand what is at stake in Mr Mueller's investigation, which both Mr Trump and Mr Caputo have called a "witch hunt" aimed at ending his presidency. Three other aides, including Manafort's longtime business partner Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with Mueller's probe. Devine said that his firm was paid by Manafort's company via wire transfer but that he was unsure whether it was from a foreign bank account.

Manafort faces 18 counts. "To quote gamblers in Las Vegas, he has to run the table". At another point, he asserted: "All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied". "At 69, that must weigh heavily on his mind".

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

"They're going to be seeing a guy who spent half a million dollars just on landscaping", Turley said.

"Manafort has remained loyal", he said.

"If he cooperates with Mueller, a pardon is going to be substantially reduced in likelihood", he said.

If Manafort is acquitted, "it will benefit President Trump tremendously, because it will cast into doubt all of the legitimacy of the process that is occurring", said Joshua Dressler, a professor of criminal law and criminal procedure at Ohio State University.

Devine told Andres that he worked on media and speechwriting for campaigns in Ukraine, and he listed other American consultants who worked with him, including Daniel Rabin, another person listed as a potential witness, and Tony Fabrizio, a polling consultant who later went on to work for Donald Trump's campaign.

  • Rogelio Becker