Manafort trial begins in biggest test yet for special counsel Robert Mueller

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The trial of Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump's successful 2016 run for the White House, begins on Tuesday and prosecutors have coached witnesses to focus on the crimes Manafort is charged with and not his relationship with Trump, ABC is reporting.

"Evidence or argument relating to Mr. Manafort's work for then-candidate Trump's campaign in 2016 or the Special Counsel's investigation of the campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government is wholly irrelevant to whether Mr. Manafort's personal income tax returns were false, whether he willfully failed to file reports of foreign accounts, and whether he conspired to commit, or committed, bank fraud", defense lawyers wrote.

Prosecutors say Gates and Manafort earned millions lobbying Washington and other Western capitals on behalf of Ukraine, and that the pair "engaged in a scheme to hide income from the United States authorities".

On Tuesday, a court will work to seat the 12 Northern Virginians who will decide whether President Trump's former campaign chairman is guilty of several felonies.

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.

"The defense doesn't want to be prejudiced by association with Trump", Wisenberg opined. Concerned over the potential for a mistrial ruling or a reversal after conviction, Robert Mueller's team has coached witnesses to ixnay on the Ump-tray. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Ellis has questioned the scope of Mueller's probe and said Manafort's indictment seemed to be aimed at getting him to provide information on Trump.

Mueller has not spoken publicly since a one-line statement upon taking on the investigation, leading to rampant speculation as to the state of the special counsel investigation one year on.

Gates worked as Manafort's deputy when he was chairman of the Trump campaign.

Plus, an American public that sees a positive public display of how the special counsel's team is handling themselves "will make it much more hard for Trump to smear these prosecutors in the way he has previously". Gates is still believed to be cooperating with the special counsel and no sentencing date has yet to be set.

But that lofty rhetoric stands in contrast to Manafort's current circumstances. "When you can have a corroborating witness give testimony and corroborate it with documents that are otherwise unexplainable, you get a powerful case".

Rick Gates, Manafort's former right-hand man, is co-operating with the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors working with Mueller dropped almost two dozen criminal fraud charges against Gates, who reached a plea deal.

Manafort was given the option to consolidate both trials into one. His legal burden grew heavier in mid-June, when a different judge, in Washington, D.C., ordered Manafort to jail, as a flight risk.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., February 14, 2018.

Dennis Raico and James Brennan worked at Federal Savings Bank, a Chicago lender that extended Manafort $16 million in loans against his NY real estate holdings. Their roles were expected to feature more prominently in the Washington trial later this autumn.

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

As for Little, he's most interested in whether the president will be able to resist "keeping his mouth shut" about the case, he said.