Ex-Trump aide Manafort faces charges in first trial of Russian Federation probe

Paul Manafort trial offers glimpse into what Robert Mueller actually has in his investigation

Paul Manafort trial offers glimpse into what Robert Mueller actually has in his investigation

Legal experts said Manafort may be hoping to be found not guilty - or holding out hopes of a presidential pardon.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, claims Mr Manafort made $60 million from Ukrainian political figures.

The more than two dozen secret shell companies Manafort is accused of using, Zehnle said, were created at the initiative of the Party of Regions' financial supporters.

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

John Cohen, a former acting undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and current ABC News consultant, said prosecutors may be responding to the defense strategy by minimizing the role Gates would play as a key informant in their case. But Butina also appeared to have had a broader mission, The Daily Beast reports, detailing an encounter in which Butina urged legendary US financial executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg to pour more money into the secretly insolvent Russian bank Investtorgbank, leaving observers "shocked and disturbed" at her audacity. It's not clear who he is referring to, but given that it's the government going into specifics about luxury stores Manafort frequented it seems like he is criticizing the government for name-dropping.

Manafort was a senior Trump campaign aide and he led the campaign for several months, but the charges are not directly related to campaign activity, as the White House has repeatedly emphasized.

Earlier in the day, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis presided over selection of a 12-member jury, six men and six women. "This trial obviously centers on matters that have nothing to do with the campaign". Prosecutors say he hid millions of dollars in income from lobbying for Ukrainian politicians, failed to pay taxes while spending the money on USA real estate and luxury purchases, and lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans.

Last week, Ellis granted Mueller's request to give immunity to five witnesses expected to testify at Manafort's trial, but denied prosecutors' request to protect their identities. He was in the hot seat when Mr Trump eventually won the Republican nomination, and organised the Republican convention in July 2016. The nine bank fraud and conspiracy charges alone carry maximum sentences of 30 years each, and Judge Ellis noted in April that Mr Manafort could be facing the rest of his life behind bars if convicted. Maximillian Katzman, of New York's elite custom clothier Alan Couture, said Manafort was one of his top customers and, unlike any other customer, paid with global wire transfers. Prosecutors appeared to be using his testimony to establish the nature of Manafort's work in Ukraine. Prosecutors say Manafort made $60 million from his work.

Tuesday's ruling from a three-judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was unanimous. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges, as well.

President Trump tweeted about Manafort Wednesday morning as the trial was beginning its second day.

In brief testimony, the controller of a Mercedes Benz dealership in Alexandria, Virginia, described Manafort purchasing a vehicle using a wire transfer to pay the balance due, after a trade in, of $62,750.

Manafort has been in jail since June, when the judge presiding over the Washington case revoked his bail for allegedly tampering with potential witnesses. As he was leaving the courtroom at the end of day, he blew a kiss and mouthed "I love you" to his wife, Kathleen, who was seated in the first row.

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