Conway on Manafort trial 'nothing to do with the campaign'

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President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort departs U.S. District Court after a motions hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., May 4, 2018.

According to the report, special counsel Robert Mueller's case is focused exclusively on accusations that Manafort committed financial crimes, ranging from tax evasion to bank fraud, that have no direct ties to his campaign work. "I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case".

Trump has called Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling, which includes potential collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin, a "witch hunt".

Those questions will be answered by 12 jurors selected this week as Manafort's trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges gets underway at the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors have said they don't plan to offer evidence related to the Russian Federation case, and that references to Manafort's association with the Trump campaign will be limited.

His lawyers are seeking to exclude evidence at trial that details Manafort's political lobbying work in Ukraine, saying it would be "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming".

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Manafort ran Trump's campaign for five months in the spring of 2016. Prosecutors, though, are recommending 8 to 10 years. Manafort faces 18 criminal counts, to which he has plead not guilty.

The trial, starting with selection of a 12-member jury, coincides with growing speculation that Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen may cooperate with federal investigators against the president. What charges does he face?

Ellis had sought to strike three more prospective jurors based on the questionnaires, but prosecutors pushed back, writing in a court filing last week that all three had "affirmed that they would be able 'decide the case fairly and impartially based exclusively on the evidence presented and the Court's instructions of law'".

Mueller has submitted more than 500 pieces of evidence, including tax filings and mortgage statements, and pictures of Manafort's expensive watches and homes. Prosecutors will also argue that Manafort fraudulently obtained millions more in bank loans, including during his time on the campaign.

Manafort's defense strategy is still unknown. Some documents are necessary to show Manafort's connections with those consultants, prosecutors say.

"Mueller's team is trying to keep it pristine with the judge".

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