Prosecutors: Manafort conspired to evade millions in taxes

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Opening statements were expected later in the afternoon.

Protesters hold their banners in front of the Alexandria Federal Court in Alexandria, Virginia on day one of Paul Manafort's trial.

Prosecutors say President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman orchestrated a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to evade USA tax and banking laws, leaving behind a trail of lies as he lived a lavish lifestyle.

He is scheduled to go on trial in the U.S. capital in September on separate charges brought by Mueller of conspiracy, money laundering and failing to register as an agent of a foreign government.

Manafort faces 32 counts of filing false tax returns and bank fraud stemming from his work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader.

The exchange occurred during the testimony of Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Mathew Mikuska, who raided Mr. Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia condo previous year. In one case, Manafort even purchased a $15,000 jacket "made from an ostrich".

"Paul Manafort travels in circles that most people will never know and he's gotten handsomely rewarded for it", Zehnle said. They include accountants, financial advisers, tax preparers and real estate agents.

The judge in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial warned prosecutors Wednesday against using the word "oligarchs" to describe wealthy Ukrainians, and admonished them for spending so much time documenting the former Trump campaign chairman's extravagant lifestyle.

"All of this was willful", Asonye said. Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is expected to testify against his former mentor.

Manafort, the lone American charged by Mueller who has opted to stand trial instead of cooperate with prosecutors, was described by his defense lawyer as a hugely successful global political consultant who left the details of his finances to others.

After the judge asked Asonye for a clarification, Asonye said prosecutors are constantly evaluating the need to call a particular witness and his comments were "not to suggest we are not calling him".

"Paul Manafort shouldn't be here", he added. The alternates are three women and one man.

Nine potential jurors indicated they have connections to the Justice Department, including four who said they were current or former federal employees.

Selection of a 12-member jury for "USA vs Manafort" begins at 10:00 am (1400 GMT) on Tuesday before US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria, Virginia.

The government's first witness on Tuesday was Tad Devine, a political consultant who has done work for many prominent Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Al Gore and John Kerry. It will feature testimony about the business dealings and foreign ties of a defendant Trump entrusted to run his campaign during a critical stretch in 2016, including during the Republican convention.

While jurors will be hearing painstaking detail about Manafort's finances, they won't be told about Manafort's other criminal case, in the nation's capital, where he faces charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the government.

Under cross-examination, Devine also portrayed Manafort as a skilled political operator, but also a hard worker. Trump tweets that Manafort "He worked for me for a very short time".

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