Witnesses in Paul Manafort trial instructed to avoid mentioning Trump during testimony

Prosecutors are seeking to provide details of Mr Manafort's work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, raising the possibility that new information about his Russian connections could emerge.

"Unfortunately for Paul Manafort, his trust in Rick Gates was misplaced", Zehnle told the jury.

In Zehnle's retelling it was Gates who was the point person for Manafort's book-keepers and tax preparers.

Testimony in the trial is expected to start Tuesday afternoon.

Charges of bank fraud and tax evasion have been floating around for some time against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, but the Department of Justice passed on his prosecution a few years ago, National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy noted Tuesday.

The case is being prosecuted by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Asonye said Manafort set up bank accounts in overseas countries and funnelled millions of dollars into them in order to bankroll an extravagant lifestyle.

The trial, in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to last at least three weeks.

Chamber says helping all sectors hit by tariffs would cost B Giuliani rejects purported Cohen claim of second Trump Tower meeting MORE was in court Tuesday for the opening day of his criminal trial on bank and fraud charges brought by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE. The jury is composed of six men and six women.

His 30-minute opening statement painted Manafort as a successful but busy global consultant who trusted Gates and other outside professionals to handle the day-to-day operations of his business, including its finances.

He's the only American charged in the Mueller probe to opt for a trial.

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.

President Donald Trump and Manafort have both said there was no collusion. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Tuesday morning that there has been no discussion of a potential pardon by President Trump of Manafort. But that isn't a focus of this trial.

Those in the jury pool were required to fill out questionnaires that will help narrow down who could fairly and impartially sit in judgment of Manafort. He was dressed in a suit, not jail attire. "They are more anxious about protecting the trial from having a mistrial or having it overturned on appeal than provoking a hold-out person over Trump", Wu explained.

Although the case against Manafort has little to do with his time running the president's campaign, it will give the public its most detailed glimpse of evidence Mueller's team has spent the year accumulating.

He is facing charges that he hid tens of millions of dollars earned in Ukraine in offshore accounts and defrauded banks for loans. Investigators have since looked into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. It also comes as Trump and his lawyers have dialed up the intensity in their attacks on Mueller. The second trial, scheduled for September in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests.

  • Joey Payne