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"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. One of the judges, T.S. Ellis, said prosecutors rightfully "followed the money paid by pro-Russian officials" to Manafort.

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.

Despite a focus on financial crimes, the trial could yield politically damaging headlines about a man who ran Trump's campaign for three months and attended a June 2016 meeting with Russians offering damaging information on Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton that is now a focal point of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 14-month-old investigation. Gates pleaded guilty in February to conspiring against the United States and lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Turley also said he believes "jurors are not likely to identify or empathize with Paul Manafort", whose lavish spending and lifestyle is outlined in court documents.

"The government expects to prove that Manafort earned more than $60 million dollars from his Ukraine work during the period at issue and failed to report a significant percentage of it on his tax returns", prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors also accuse him of lying to USA banks to obtain real estate loans in a bid to maintain a lavish lifestyle after his client, former pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, fell from power in 2014 and the money stopped.

In their opening statement on Tuesday, prosecutors said Manafort earned some $60 million in Ukraine and unlawfully failed to report a large portion of it to USA tax authorities.

Paul Manafort faces 18 criminal counts, including bank fraud, and could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.

US law requires taxpayers to disclose foreign financial interests and bank accounts.

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Gates and Manafort worked closely together for years, including in Ukraine, and they were indicted at the same time by Mueller.

"This case is about trust because it's about Mr. Manafort placing his trust in the wrong person", Zehnle said of. Capone, dubbed "Public Enemy Number One", was convicted of tax evasion. He said he would not tolerate any pictures of Manafort and others "at a cocktail party with scantily clad women", if they exist.

The sharp words marked a dramatic opening to the trial, in keeping with the notoriously fast-moving Eastern District Court of Virginia, which lawyers often refer to as home to the "rocket docket".

None said they knew Manafort, his lawyers or their law firms.

"The people he was dealing with, they were the ones who told him to open the accounts", Zehnle explained.

But Zehnle said there was no evidence that Manafort ever meant to deceive the IRS.

Discrediting the prosecutor's witnesses is a common defense strategy.

Zehnle placed the blame for Manafort's current troubles on Gates' shoulders.

On the second day of Paul Manafort's trial, Trump took to Twitter to purge the contents of his disordered mind and come to his former campaign manager's defense.


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