What does Mueller have? Manafort trial offers glimpse

Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who's hearing the case, ruled in June that the trial could move forward and that Mueller's team was working within its authority to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election in its prosecution of Manafort.

The unsuccessful civil lawsuit sought, among other things, to prevent Mueller from bringing additional charges in the future, including potential charges relating to Manafort's work on the Trump campaign.

And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

He provided no evidence that the team led by Mueller, a Republican appointed by Republicans, is biased against him.

In describing the 18 counts facing Manafort, Asonye said that Manafort did not pay taxes on a large portion of the $60 million he earned working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, hid the income in a web of 30 overseas bank accounts, and lied to USA banks to borrow millions of dollars against his real estate holdings once the money from Ukraine dried up.

It was Gates, the defense said, who was supposed to keep track of the money Manafort earned. He has also put distance between himself and Mr Manafort's charges, saying in a tweet: "This is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign".

The US President's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is to stand trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges (file photo).

It's expected to be rich with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into Manafort's pocket.

The bank and tax fraud trial of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, got off to a quick start on Tuesday as the judge seated a jury and told prosecutors and defence lawyers to prepare to deliver opening statements.

The government's first witness on Tuesday was Tad Devine, a political consultant who has done work for many prominent Democrats, Sen. Prosecutors will also argue that Manafort fraudulently obtained millions more in bank loans, including during his time on the campaign.

None of the 18 counts against Manafort deal with collusion or conspiracy with a foreign nation, and the word Russian Federation has not been mentioned through the trial's first two days.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. Manafort's wife, Kathleen, was sitting behind him in the courtroom.

The defense will present evidence to show that Manafort reported $30 million in adjusted gross income between 2005 and 2015 and that his company reported an income of more than $92 million during the period, Zehnle said. They said he was embezzling money and later lied about it to investigators - before agreeing to flip and testify against Manafort.

Two Democratic consultants who worked with Manafort in Ukraine, Tad Devine and Daniel Rabin, are set to testify against him.

Ellis interrupted Andres to say, "The government doesn't want to prosecute somebody because they wear nice clothes, right?" Maximillian Katzman, whose father founded the shop, said that Donald Trump's former campaign manager was one of the store's top five customers.

Manafort has remained defiant, vowing to fight the charges.

However, Ronald Wall, the top financial officer at House of Bijan, said that Manafort was not the only customer there who paid via wire transfer.

Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is also expected to play a key role in Manafort's second trial, scheduled for September.



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