Rick Gates may not testify in Manafort trial

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

Uzo Asonye, one of the prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, made the comment as part of the prosecution's opening statement as the trial of Manafort got underway in a Virginia federal court.

"Bob Mueller is totally conflicted", Trump continued.

A jury set to decide the fate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Manafort was selected Tuesday, and opening statements in his tax evasion and bank fraud trial were expected in the afternoon.

"All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied", Asonye said.

Turley also said he believes "jurors are not likely to identify or empathize with Paul Manafort", whose lavish spending and lifestyle is outlined in court documents. Three other aides, including Manafort's longtime business partner Rick Gates, have already pleaded guilty and are co-operating with Mueller's probe.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump.

Manafort is charged with failing to report the existence of foreign bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service and bank fraud related to several multi-million-dollar loans he obtained from various banks.

Thomas Green, who represents Gates, did not respond to a request for comment on the new accusations.

Devine, a strategist on Democrat Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, described how Manafort used Western-style polling and advertising to lift Yanukovych to victory in a 2010 election.

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But Mr Manafort quickly faced allegations that he had not disclosed millions of dollars he received for consultancy work he carried out in Ukraine for its then pro-Russian president. He said Manafort "worked for me for a very short time". But federal judges overseeing both cases have upheld Mueller's authority to investigate and prosecute Manafort.

An acquittal would support efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to portray the probe as a "witch hunt".

Paul Manafort's lawyers signaled their defense strategy on Tuesday as the former Trump campaign chairman's trial on tax and bank fraud charges began in Alexandria, Virginia.

The judge has warned prosecutors not to inject Russian matters into the case, and on Wednesday morning instructed them not to use the word "oligarch" when describing some of the people connected to the case.

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 materialized. "Manafort placed himself and his money over the law".

He attended the Trump Tower meeting during which a Russian lawyer promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but Russia's interference in the 2016 election is not expected to be brought up in this trial. He was actively involved in the jury selection, conferring with his attorneys and passing notes. Providing the jury with plausible alternatives for why Manafort's money was illegally hidden - such as Gates going behind Manafort's back to embezzle money from him - could plant more seeds of doubt. Prosecutors say they may call as many as 35 witnesses, including five who have immunity agreements.

There are two core allegations against Manafort in the case being tried in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Virginia trial will be followed by a second one in Washington in September in which Mr Manafort is charged with money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent and witness tampering. Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year to participating in Manafort's alleged financial conspiracy and is slated to testify against him.

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