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Mueller's team said it would not present evidence at the trial in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, about possible campaign collusion with Russian Federation, potentially saving it for a second Manafort trial in Washington in September.

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.

Or will special counsel Robert Mueller be handed a defeat in his team's first trial since his appointment more than a year ago?

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

Manafort, 69, faces 18 counts in Virginia, including multiple counts each of filing false income tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts, bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy. Zehnle said Manafort, earning millions as a political consultant helping officials in other parts of the world, relied on Gates and others - including a professional accounting firm - to keep watch over the money.

"My guess is you will see OJ-type frenzy at this court event", said Michael Caputo, a former Trump aide and longtime Manafort associate, referring to the 1995 OJ Simpson murder case. His longtime business partner Rick Gates faces numerous same charges.

Yet the trial also contains pitfalls for Trump.

"Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar", Zehnle said, claiming that Gates was not truthful with the accountants who prepared Manafort's tax returns and kept his name on offshore accounts to hide an embezzlement scheme.

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

Manafort is also accused of lying to American banks to obtain millions of dollars in loans when his Ukrainian consulting and lobbying work dried up. Prosecutors questioned veteran political consultant Daniel Rabin about the work he did for Manafort.

Under government questioning, Devine described Manafort as a man very much the hands-on boss in their Ukraine work, testifying that "Paul was in charge" of business operations.

"Looking back on history, who was treated worse", he asked.

The former Trump campaign head was ordered to jail by a judge on new charges that he was tampering with witnesses.

Gates pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation on "all matters" they deem relevant. Mr Trump tweeted early on Tuesday.

In response, Asonye said, "Well your honor, we constantly re-evaluate by the evidence that comes in".

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.

Trump is trying to distance himself from Manafort, who led Trump's efforts to secure the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

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.

Manafort arrived at the courthouse Tuesday morning wearing a black suit, with his hair neatly parted.

Manafort actively conferred with his lawyers during the jury selection process, writing and passing notes. As he was leaving the courtroom at the end of day, he blew a kiss and mouthed "I love you" to his wife, Kathleen, who was seated in the first row.

While the government has 35 witnesses, not all of them may be called.


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