Manafort in court on first day of criminal trial

Manafort in court on first day of criminal trial
© Anna Moneymaker

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHillicon Valley: Trump goes after Twitter, Facebook | House Dems call for Sinclair probe | Apple removes China gambling apps | Cryptocurrencies form self-regulatory group Trump faces mounting legal pressure on three fronts GOP candidate jokes: 'The Russians are going to help me' win in November MORE was in court Tuesday for the opening day of his criminal trial on bank and fraud charges brought by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Manafort appeared at the federal courthouse wearing a black business suit. His wife sat behind him in the courtroom.

At one point, Manafort ran his fingers through his graying hair and gave the jury pool a quick, close-lipped smile.

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Opening arguments are slated to begin Tuesday afternoon now that jurors have been selected. The jury box consists of six men and six women. There are four alternates — one man and three women.

The 18 counts facing Manafort include allegedly laundering $30 million from work on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians and hiding money overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

In addition to jury selection, Tuesday morning included a hearing regarding a motion to block Ukraine-related documents from being introduced as evidence at the trial.

Judge T.S. Ellis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, said he wasn’t going to rule on that motion immediately, and instead asked prosecutors to limit the number of documents they introduce at trial.

The judge also advised the government lawyers against doing a data dump without explaining to the jury the significance of the documents.

Before today’s proceedings, Mueller’s team brought three dollies worth of documents into the courtroom for the trial.

Outside the courthouse, protesters lined up in front of the federal building with signs ranging from “Lock him up” and “It’s Mueller time” to “Trump wouldn’t spend one second in prison for you.”

The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

Manafort faces a separate trial in September in Washington, D.C., also on charges brought by Mueller that include conspiring to defraud the government and launder money, making false statement to federal officials, and failing to disclose he was acting as a political consultant and lobbyist for now-former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the political party Yanukovych led and the party that took over after Yanukovych fled to Russia in 2014.

Updated at 2:29 p.m.