Paul Manafort trial: jury selection under way

Paul Manafort trial: jury selection under way

Paul Manafort trial: jury selection under way

The trial will give the public the most detailed glimpse yet into a part of the Mueller investigation. Manafort is being charged with tax evasion and bank fraud in the first trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Another man brought a John Grisham novel into the courtroom.

Manafort, who has been jailed for almost two months, wore a black suit and appeared fully engaged in his defense, whispering with his attorneys during jury selection and scribbling notes as the prosecution began its opening statement.

The charges against Manafort are being prosecuted by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who uncovered the alleged wrongdoing during his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and suspected collusion with Trump's campaign.

As he started delivering his opening statement, Asonye earned a near-immediate rebuke from Judge T.S. Ellis, who told him not to tell jurors that "the evidence will show" that the allegations against Manafort are true.

"Paul Manafort traveled in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said.

Gates was named as a co-defendant in the initial indictment handed down against Manafort last October.

Most tax and bank fraud cases are built on stacks of bland business documents and Internal Revenue Service paperwork - hardly the stuff of global intrigue.

"Those documents are relevant", Judge Ellis said, referring to prosecution exhibits showing the nature of Mr Manafort's funds, but added that it was not the end of the issue.

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Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly sought to play down Manafort's connection to the president, yet the trial won't be entirely without references to the campaign. The charges stem from Manafort's activities from 2006-2017.

Manafort is charged with bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy for allegedly submitting false and misleading information to try to secure a $1 million business loan from Banc of California. That leaves Manafort, 69, facing charges that could keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Prosecutors said in court filings that the evidence, which includes "memoranda, emails, and photos" shows Mr. Manafort earned more than he claimed on his tax returns.

Prosecutors also accuse him of lying to USA banks to obtain real estate loans in a bid to maintain a lavish lifestyle after his client, former pro-Russia Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, fell from power in 2014 and the money stopped.

The results of the questionnaires were placed under seal, with copies being given to both sides for use in the jury selection process this week. But it ultimately said this wasn't enough to look past Manafort's conduct and set him free from jail.

It's what may not come up much during the trial in Alexandria, Va., that will draw attention from all over the world: Manafort's work for candidate Donald Trump for a critical period in 2016 when Trump clinched the Republican nomination for president. National security lawyer Bradley Moss discusses the latest developments.

Trump has vacillated between showing sympathy for Manafort and trying to distance himself.

An acquittal would support efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to portray the probe as a "witch hunt". Mr Trump tweeted early on Tuesday. The indictment says he and associate Rick Gates moved money from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to hide it from the Internal Revenue Service.

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