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A jury has been seated in the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on tax evasion and bank fraud charges.

"I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case". And it will unfold at a delicate time for the president as Mueller's team presses for an interview and as Trump escalates his attacks on an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".

In pretrial arguments, prosecutor Greg Andres told the court the government would only bring up Manafort's campaign work in the context of a witness from a bank who gave him a loan, with the expectation that the banker would win consideration for a post in the Trump administration.

Five witnesses have been granted immunity from prosecution to testify against Manafort.

Prosecutors are seeking to provide details of Mr Manafort's work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, raising the possibility that new information about his Russian connections could emerge.

The tax and bank fraud trial represents the first test of Mueller's ability to win a conviction of a former Trump aide.

At a recent hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who will preside over the trial, warned prosecutors to restrain themselves, noting the current "antipathy" toward Russia and how "most people in this country don't distinguish between Ukrainians and Russians".

The witnesses against Manafort include his former right-hand man, Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a deal to cooperate with Mueller's office.

Mueller's team says Manafort's position in the Trump campaign is relevant to some of the bank fraud charges. This is a notable development because much of the noise surrounding the Manafort trial began in May. The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

That appeal, referred to as a "petition" in the quote above, contended that Manafort's prior challenge of special counsel Robert Mueller's authority was wrongly dismissed.

After Yanukovych was deposed in 2014 and their Ukrainian income dwindled, Manafort and Gates allegedly came up with another scheme to obtain money: the two used their real estate properties in the U.S.as collateral to fraudulently secure more than $20 million in bank loans by "falsely inflating" their income. Giuliani said he and Jay Sekulow, another Trump lawyer, had told the president: "This would be a very bad thing to do now".

"On top of that", he added, "the government will bring forth the coup de grace" with incriminating testimony by Gates, Manafort's former business partner.

Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine.

"It seems to me we're seeing deeper ties that Manafort has had financially with his business deals in the Ukraine and with Russian Federation", said Shanlon Wu, a former lawyer for Manafort associate Rick Gates, who pleaded guilty in February and is aiding Mueller's probe. Three Russian companies have also been charged. He has pleaded not guilty.


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