Star witness may or 'may not' testify in ex-Trump aide's trial

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

This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers in front of US district Judge T.S Ellis III, and the jury during the jury selection of his trial in Alexandria, Va., July 31, 2018.

In their opening statement on Tuesday, prosecutors said Manafort earned some $60 million in Ukraine and unlawfully failed to report a large portion of it to USA tax authorities.

Paul Manafort on Tuesday will become the first of President Donald Trump's former aides to go on trial, accused of bank and tax fraud by federal investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 us presidential election.

Prosecutors plan to produce almost three dozen witnesses during the trial, including Manafort's former associate Richard Gates, who is cooperating with the government after pleading guilty to lesser charges in February.

WASHINGTON-Two questions loom large as Paul Manafort prepares to walk into a federal courtroom Tuesday: Will Donald Trump's former campaign chairman spend what effectively could be the rest of his life in prison?

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On the second day of Paul Manafort's trial, Trump took to Twitter to purge the contents of his disordered mind and come to his former campaign manager's defense.

Opening remarks by Manafort's lawyer, Thomas Zehnle, gave an indication of his defense tactic - singling out Gates.

Lawyers for Manafort countered by painting Manafort as a victim of his employees, including former colleague Rick Gates, who is cooperating with Mueller's probe.

Prosecutors have said they don't plan during Manafort's fraud trial to offer evidence related to the Russian Federation case, or make many references to Manafort's association with the Trump campaign.

Paul Manafort is being tried in Alexandria, Va., on 18 counts of tax and bank fraud.

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It may not be about Russian Federation, but it will be held in the shadow of the collusion controversy that's long loomed over the White House. But Manafort, according to prosecutors, hid the existence of his offshore accounts from his own tax preparers and bookkeepers. Manafort worked on Trump's presidential campaign for five months and attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians that is a focal point of Mueller's probe into possible collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin. Trump tweeted early Tuesday.

"Paul Manafort shouldn't be here", he added.

Prosecutors say they will introduce evidence that a chairman of one of the banks allowed Manafort to file inaccurate loan information in exchange for a role on the Republican campaign and the promise of a job in the Trump administration that never materialised.

"This is the way that they required it to be done", Zehnle said, arguing why oligarchs paid Manafort through secret foreign accounts. A jury of six men and six women was ultimately selected, along with four alternate jurors.

More details about Mr Manafort's work in Ukraine and with Russian nationals are expected to emerge in the 69-year-old's trial, which starts on Tuesday. He says agents spotted Manafort inside after they entered. "The Special Counsel consents to a one week extension of the deadline to submit a Joint Pretrial Order but objects to the longer extension Mr. Manafort seeks in this motion", they continued.

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President Donald Trump and Manafort have both said there was no collusion.

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