"What you really care about is what information Mr Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment".

President Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation, and today tried to make the case publicly that collusion would not be a crime anyway.

Ellis, a 77-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee, expressed skepticism that Mueller's team actually cares about the former Trump campaign chairman's alleged crimes, saying, "I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate".

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Manafort's lavish spending on suits, homes and luxury items did not match the income declared on his tax returns and that he misled lenders when he borrowed tens of millions of dollars against NY real estate.

Lawyers working for special counsel Robert Mueller plan to call witnesses they say demonstrate where Manafort spent his allegedly ill-gotten gains: custom-made suits; Persian rugs; landscaping fees; Land Rovers and Mercedes-Benz vehicles; and season tickets to the New York Yankees, among other items.

The heart of the government's case involves nine years of Manafort's lucrative lobbying and consulting for Ukraine and its former leader Victor Yanukovych, work the USA government said Manafort should have registered with the Justice Department. Of the four former Trump aides ensnared in the probe, Manafort is the only one to go to trial.

The presiding judge has said that Mr Manafort...

Paul Manafort, ex-Trump campaign chief, to begin trial
Gates, who worked alongside Manafort as a political consultant, was indicted along with Manafort in October 2017. Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said no one facing trial should expect a pardon, but he did not rule one out.


Manafort faces charges in two different courts and could spend decades in prison if convicted.

The 18 counts facing Manafort include allegedly laundering $30 million from work on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians and hiding money overseas to avoid paying US taxes. 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. "Not tax. Not banking law", Asonye told the jury of six men and six women in Federal Court in Virginia, referring to Manafort.

Paul Manafort, shown here arriving for a court hearing in D.C. last month, is on trial in federal court in Alexandria.

It was the summer of 2016, Paul Manafort was a campaign chairman, and his candidate, Donald Trump, was the newly crowned Republican presidential nominee. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

Short of an acquittal, the best hope for Manafort to avoid jail time remains a presidential pardon. That trial, set in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that the longtime political consultant acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the U.S. government.

"What they claim is they looked at that conduct, is that the Justice Department did and opted not to prosecute him". Investigators have since looked into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

He warned jurors not to believe Gates when he testifies against Manafort. So far, 32 people and three companies have been charged by Mr Mueller.


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