White House expected to address Mueller probe, Manafort trial

Paul Manafort has been charged with money laundering and bank fraud among other violations.					Alexandria Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Paul Manafort has been charged with money laundering and bank fraud among other violations. Alexandria Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

The charges against Manafort are being prosecuted by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who uncovered the alleged wrongdoing during his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and suspected collusion with Trump's campaign.

Manafort and Gates were indicted last year and earlier this year on charges related to their work in Ukraine by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Selection of a 12-member jury for "USA vs Manafort" begins at 10:00 am (1400 GMT) on Tuesday before US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ellis' comments on the second day of Manafort's trial weren't made in front of the jury.

The former political consultant, who ran the Trump campaign for three months, has pleaded not guilty.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said Manafort made tens of millions of dollars as a political consultant in Ukraine, but used offshore shell companies and foreign bank accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes on much of the money. The indictment says he and associate Rick Gates moved money from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to hide it from the Internal Revenue Service.

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.

In their opening remarks, prosecutors said Manafort opened more than 30 bank accounts outside the United States to attempt to hide the $60 million he earned in lobbying in Ukraine.

It's the first trial arising from Mueller's investigation into potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

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That task comes as the president and his lawyer-spokesperson, Rudy Giuliani, have intensified their attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation in the court of public opinion and as the USA president continues to waffle on whether he'll sit for a private interview with prosecutors. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

He said Gates took advantage of his position overseeing day-to-day operations of Manafort's consulting firm.

A Manafort conviction would give momentum to Mueller, who has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies since the probe started 14 months ago. "At 69, that must weigh heavily on his mind". "Not tax. Not banking law", Asonye told the jury of six men and six women in Federal Court in Virginia, referring to Manafort.

But Gates kept his name on them "so he could keep control", he said. Zehnle, one of Manafort's attorneys, said Manafort's only mistake was trusting his former business partner.

Turley said Manafort may be "playing a pardon strategy".

Manafort faces a maximum of 305 years in prison if he is convicted on all charges.

"You know who you are going to call", He said.

Prosecutors have said they don't plan to offer evidence related to the Russian Federation case, and that references to Manafort's association with the Trump campaign will be limited.

Manafort is also due to face other charges in a separate trial in Washington.

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