What you need to know about the Paul Manafort trial

Paul Manafort spent $18,000 on karaoke equipment court documents reveal

The case against Manafort, brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Eastern District of Virginia, is focused exclusively on allegations that the former Trump adviser had committed a range of financial crimes, from tax evasion to bank fraud, that have no direct tie to his campaign work.

In recent months, prosecutors in Mueller's office have produced detailed indictments charging at least Russian 25 individuals and three Russian companies with crimes related to election interference, including hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, money laundering and stealing USA citizen's identities.

The indictment unveiled when Gates was a co-defendant described his "assistance" in Manafort's alleged illegal acts, from disguising income from Ukraine as loans, to allegedly misleading accountants about foreign bank accounts that they should have disclosed to the government.

They claim that when Mr Manafort's income from consulting and foreign lobbying dried up, he lied to banks to get loans to maintain his lavish spending.

It comes as the President continues to rail against Mueller's investigation, calling it a "witch hunt", and some congressional Republicans are looking to impeach the Justice Department official overseeing the Muller probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Legal experts say Manafort can be indicted in state court for numerous same crimes for which he's been charged by the special counsel.

"He'd be in worse position than he was when he started", Akerman said.

When Mueller initially filed charges - which came first in an indictment handed down in October by a grand jury in D.C. - Gates seemed ready to fight the case. "They are more anxious about protecting the trial from having a mistrial or having it overturned on appeal than provoking a hold-out person over Trump", Wu theorized. The president seized on those words and said Judge Ellis "is really something special, I hear from many standpoints". But he was ensnared in the Russian Federation investigation a year ago after Mueller began examining ties between Trump campaign staff and Russian Federation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in both cases. And they won't learn that Manafort's co-defendant in the Washington case is a business associate named Konstantin Kilimnik, who lives in Russia and who US authorities assert has connections to Russian intelligence.

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None of the charges have any explicit connection to Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election, and Manafort's lawyers had previously sought to dismiss the indictments against him. Manafort would eventually help Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Russia-aligned Party of Regions, win the presidency in 2010.

Manafort's attorneys last week fingered over 50 exhibits included on a proposed government list as prejudicial and irrelevant and asked the judge to disallow them from his trial, set to begin with jury selection on Tuesday. His longtime business partner Rick Gates faces numerous same charges.

The trial in Alexandria, Virginia, will give the public its most detailed glimpse of evidence Mueller's team has spent the year accumulating.

Yesterday, prosecutors said in court filings that they intend to prove that Mr Manafort earned more than $60m (€51m) lobbying for the former pro-Russia Ukrainian government and failed to report "a significant percentage" of that.

Judge T.S. Ellis will preside in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

"The depth of the charges against Paul Manafort is such that at some point, the best decision for him will be to try to cut a deal", said Lisa Griffin, a former federal prosecutor who is now a law professor at Duke University. Mueller ramped up the pressure with additional charges against Manafort and Gates, in Virginia, on Feb 22.

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