Paul Manafort trial, Alexandria, Virginia

AFP Contributor  AFP

It is the first full tally provided by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, of Mr Manafort's income from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine.

The US President's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is to stand trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges (file photo).

But the broader implications are unmistakable.

Manafort's defense team has filed a flurry of motions - to suppress evidence gathered from a Virginia storage unit, to challenge the mandate of the special counsel and to delay the trial - almost all of which it has lost so far. His longtime business partner Rick Gates faces numerous same charges. Manafort then asked the federal appeals court in Washington, DC, to review her decision. "Obviously, that's very risky for him". Of the four former Trump aides ensnared in the probe, Manafort is the only one to go to trial.

Prosecutors claim that Mr Manafort, who ran the U.S. president's election campaign for five months, hid more than $30 million of that sum in offshore accounts to evade taxes. One home had a waterfall and another had a putting green. There's likely to be testimony, too, about tailored Beverly Hills clothing, high-end antiques, rugs and art and New York Yankees seasons tickets.

Prosecutors want to show memos, campaign ad scripts, political rally plans and other work Manafort did in an effort to prove that he made over $60million off the Party of Regions and its leader, Viktor Yanukovych, between 2005 and 2014. But numerous businessmen and politicians they said he worked with have deep ties to Russia and to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The presiding judge has said that Mr Manafort... The evidence will also demonstrate that he was paid through foreign accounts, they said.

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Prosecutor Greg Andres reassured the judge that "there will be no pictures of scantily clad women, period", nor photographs of Russian flags. In fact, prosecutors said last week they don't expect the word "Russia" to be mentioned at all.

Dozens of jurors packed a federal courtroom Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, to face questions from a judge and lawyers about whether they can be fair and impartial. 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 USA authorities assert has connections to Russian intelligence.

Manafort, the former chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, was jailed in mid-June on suspicions of witness tampering.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. Failure to obtain a conviction for Manafort would give Trump and his allies more ammunition in their continued attacks on the probe. The administration job never materialized. Previously, he tried to challenge Mueller's prosecutorial authority, a move that included filing a civil lawsuit against the Justice Department.

"I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate", Ellis said at a hearing in May.

He said Trump could help the public understand what is at stake in Mueller's investigation, which both Trump and Caputo have called a "witch hunt" aimed at ending his presidency.

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