All eyes on Virginia court as Paul Manafort's fraud trial begins

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The trial against Manafort, focused on tax and bank fraud, is set to begin juror selection this Tuesday.

Of all the Americans charged so far in the Mueller Investigation, Mr Manafort is the first to end up on trial - on charges of financial fraud.

While prosecutors are not expected to address the question of possible collusion between Trump and Russia, Manafort's case is widely viewed as a test to the legitimacy of Mueller's ongoing probe, which Trump has dismissed as a "witch hunt".

While Gates and others, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and has insisted on having his day in court.

The Government intends to show that Mr Manafort funnelled more than $US60 million ($81 million) in proceeds from his Ukrainian political consulting through offshore accounts and hid a "significant" portion of it from tax collection authorities. Manafort is charged with tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts.

Testimony in the trial is expected to start Tuesday afternoon.

Manafort, the former chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, was jailed in mid-June on suspicions of witness tampering. Ellis said the trial would move immediately to opening statements after a lunch recess.

Manafort faces 18 counts.

He has also put distance between himself and Mr Manafort's charges, saying in a tweet: "This is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign".

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This courtroom sketch depicts Paul Manafort, fourth from right, standing with his lawyers during the jury selection of his trial at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va.

His comments come as Manafort's trial enters its second day of proceedings. Five witnesses were granted immunity.

"When a prosecutor looks into those dealings and uncovers evidence of criminal culpability", said Stanford law professor David Alan Sklansky, "it doesn't make sense to ask him to avert his eyes".

"I don't anticipate that a government witness will utter the word 'Russia,"' Andres said.

But once Mueller's Russian Federation investigation ends, Giuliani told Reuters: "He has a right to consider it".

Mueller's team is expected to have up to 35 people testify in the Virginia trial, including former Manafort business partner and Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates. Trump has denied any collusion took place. "Didn't know Manafort was the head of the Mob". "Not tax. Not banking law", Asonye told the jury of six men and six women in Federal Court in Virginia, referring to Manafort.

Prosecutors also questioned FBI Special Agent Matthew Mikuska, an 11-year veteran of the agency who executed a search warrant on Manafort's Alexandria condominium last year.

At the same time, Mueller's team continues to press the president's legal team for an interview with the commander in chief. But Butina also appeared to have had a broader mission, The Daily Beast reports, detailing an encounter in which Butina urged legendary USA financial executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg to pour more money into the secretly insolvent Russian bank Investtorgbank, leaving observers "shocked and disturbed" at her audacity.

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