Pres. Trump blasts past administrations for Paul Manafort probe

Prosecutors accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of being a "shrewd" liar who orchestrated a global scheme to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars, in opening statements that kicked off Manafort's trial on Tuesday.

The indictment was brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who is looking into Russian meddling in the presidential election, but the charges are not connected to Manafort's time as Trump's campaign chairman.

Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, has indicated that Mr Trump could pardon Mr Manafort should he be found guilty.

Gates was originally charged along with Manafort, but he eventually reached a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with the government.

"Unfortunately, his trust in Rick Gates was misplaced", Zehnle said. "Not tax, not banking law".

If the judge rules in their favor, prosecutors could present evidence that delves deeper into Manafort's Russian connections.

By midday, a jury of six women and six men, with four alternates, was in place.

Manafort, 69, was seated in the courtroom wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie.

On Wednesday, the government says it will call another political consultant, Daniel Rabin, to take the stand, as well as an unnamed Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, among others.

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Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine. Asonye said the evidence would show he lied to the Internal Revenue Service. Asonye described how Manafort snapped up expensive real estate in the United States, spent millions of dollars on renovating his properties and more than a half million dollars on "fancy clothes".

He is the only American charged by Mueller to opt for a trial.

Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort and a onetime senior Trump campaign aide, pleaded guilty in February to two felony counts: conspiracy against the USA and lying to federal authorities.

The trial for President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, begins this week in Virginia. He is seeking to keep jurors from hearing details of his years of work in Ukraine for the Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is irrelevant and prejudicial.

Under cross-examination, Devine also portrayed Manafort as a skilled political operator, but also a hard worker. Manafort is accused of concealing tens of millions of dollars in income from the IRS and fraudulently obtaining millions more in bank loans.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is expected to address Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and the trial for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman, in a Wednesday news briefing.

US District Judge T.S. Ellis said he plans to rule on whether that Ukraine-related evidence can be included after the jury is selected, a process that started today.

"Paul Manafort travelled in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said. Manafort's wife, Kathleen, was sitting behind him in the courtroom.

"I hope you will not hurry to slit your wrists".

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