Former Trump Campaign Chair Heads to Trial

Mueller releases list of potential witnesses in Paul Manafort's trial

Mueller releases list of potential witnesses in Paul Manafort's trial

What's likely to be missing: answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election, or really any mention of Russian Federation at all.

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.

It's expected to be rich with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into Manafort's pocket.

Manafort, left, faces 32 financial charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, right, who is leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election, including possible collusion between Russia and members of Trump's campaign team.

At the same time, Mueller's team continues to press the president's legal team for an interview with the commander in chief. "With a northern Virginia jury, they know they may not be kindly disposed to the president".

Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, has indicated that Mr Trump could pardon Mr Manafort should he be found guilty. He is charged with multiple crimes for allegedly failing to report his Ukrainian income, tax evasion and bank fraud.

Manafort's team includes Kevin Downing, Thomas Zehnle, Richard Westling and Jay Rohit Nanavati, all former prosecutors with complex tax fraud case experience.

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.

The work that Manafort did in the US on behalf of Yanukovych, the government of Ukraine, and Yanukovych's Party of Regions is at the heart of the special counsel's indictment.

Among them is former Manafort associate Rick Gates, who in February pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators.

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Manafort was present during the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that was set up after a Kremlin-linked lawyer offered up dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to members of the Trump campaign.

Manafort has spent the past month in prison in Alexandria outside Washington after having his house arrest and $10 million bail revoked by a federal judge for allegedly tampering with witnesses in another pending case.

Mr. Manafort said the exhibits were prejudicial and irrelevant to the case.

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.

The decision to drop the appeal comes one day before Manafort's criminal trial is scheduled to begin in Virginia federal court.

Mueller has indicted a total of 32 people so far in connection with his probe into whether any members of Trump's election campaign colluded with Russian Federation to help get the NY real estate tycoon into the White House.

But prosecutors' star witness is likely to be Gates, who worked closely with Manafort in Ukraine and later followed him into Trump's campaign as deputy chairman.

Seven prosecutors from Mueller's office were expected to feature prominently in the trial, including veteran government attorneys Andrew Weissmann and Greg Andres, who returned to the government from private practice to work on Mueller's probe.

He faces two criminal trials, the first in Alexandria, Virginia, and another later in Washington.

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