Trial set to begin for ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort

Trial set to begin for ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort

What spectators won't hear much about is his time running Trump's presidential campaign or attempts to prove he colluded with Russian officials to influence the election.

Here is what you need to know about Manafort's trial.

The trial will afford the public its first glimpse of a defence that so far has focused less on the substance of the allegations than on Mueller's authority to bring the case in the first place.

Prosecutors accuse Manafort, 69, of working as an unregistered lobbyist for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, laundering more than $30 million in income and deceiving banks to secure millions of dollars more in loans.

Ellis has since ruled that Mueller is acting within the scope of his investigation in pursuing charges against Manafort.

Manafort is charged with lying on tax forms and bank fraud.

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His lawyers are seeking to exclude evidence at trial that details Mr Manafort's political lobbying work in Ukraine, saying it would be "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming".

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.

The maximum sentence for these 18 counts is 305 years in prison.

Given the strength of the evidence, however, some legal experts have suggested Manafort may be banking on an eventual pardon from Trump, who has called his former campaign chairman a "nice guy" who has been treated unfairly.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the special counsel's investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt" and denied there was any collusion with Moscow to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

His trial is expected to be lengthy.

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Mueller has submitted more than 500 pieces of evidence, including tax filings and mortgage statements, and pictures of Manafort's expensive watches and homes.

Mueller has released a list of 35 potential witnesses he could call to the stand, including Gates, who is now a key co-operating witness in Mueller's investigation. Legal experts say Manafort can be indicted in state court for numerous same crimes for which he's been charged by the special counsel. Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: "This would be a very bad thing to do now". "He has a right to consider it", Mr Giuliani told Reuters. Judge T.S. Ellis III of the United States District Court, presiding over the Virginia case, wrote in June that "it is plausible, indeed ultimately persuasive here, to argue that the investigation and prosecution has some relevance to the election which occurred months if not years after the alleged misconduct".

Manafort has withdrawn his appeal of a judge's decision to throw out his civil lawsuit against Mueller, according to court filings.

"It is hereby stipulated and agreed by and between the parties that the above-captioned petition be voluntarily dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 42 (b)", a Monday afternoon filing in the District of Columbia reads.

"Manafort has remained loyal", he said. CNN reports the charges against Manafort state $75 million flowed through offshore accounts managed by Manafort and his former business partner, Rick Gates.

Manafort was indicted along with Gates in Mueller's wide-ranging investigation, but he is the only American charged to opt for a trial instead of co-operating with the government.

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"Perhaps he believes that he's done nothing wrong, and because he's done nothing wrong, he's unwilling to plead guilty to any crime whatsoever - even if it's a lesser crime", said Jimmy Gurule, a Notre Dame law professor and former federal prosecutor.

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