Trump campaign advisor Manafort
Paul Manafort of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's staff listens during a round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in 2016. Photo: Reuters

Where is Paul Manafort today? On trail in front of Robert Mueller. The trial of the former Trump campaign manager began today in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort, 69, is charged with financial fraud stemming from the money he earned as a consultant to a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine. Prosecutors allege that he evaded taxes on more than $30 million in income by hiding it in offshore accounts and committing bank fraud.

It's the first trial resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's potentially illegal conspiracy with Russia, but the charges aren't directly related to that.

Where is Paul Manafort today?

So where is Paul Manafort today? He's on trial, but he's not giving testimony, although that could come later. Though the trial did start today, it opened with jury selection and opening statements. 

The prosecutors plan to call two dozen witnesses and present a hundred documents. Analysts say that because this is a "paper case" that doesn't rely on human witnesses — documents don't lie or suffer from faulty memories on the stand, after all — the government's case is very strong, and it's likely Manafort will be convicted.

 

What can we expect to learn in Paul Manafort's trial?

The judge has warned lawyers not to let Russia or Trump bias affect the jury. Prosecutors have said they don't intend to bring up the issue of a potential Russia/Trump conspiracy.

That said, the trial centers around Manafort's consulting work on behalf of Russian interests, so we will likely learn about the length and mechanics of that relationship. What we know so far: In 2006, Manafort was hired by a group of Russian oligarchs to promote their interests in Ukraine and to drum up support for a pro-Russian leader, Viktor Yanukovych. Amid a popular uprising in 2014, Yanukovych fled back to Russia and the payments stopped flowing to Manafort, who then resorted to bank fraud to maintain his lifestyle.

Manafort's business associate Rick Gates, who was also involved with the Trump campaign, is expected to testify against Manafort, so we can expect an insider's view into the income stream from Ukraine.

How long will Paul Manafort's trial take?

According to the New York Times, the trial is expected to take about three weeks.

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