Paul Manafort bank fraud trial – live updates

Last Updated Jul 31, 2018 12:26 PM EDT

The long-awaited trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort began Tuesday in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort is being charged with tax evasion and bank fraud in the first trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In the noon hour, U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III said jury selection was nearly complete — a surprise, given that it was expected to take all of Tuesday and perhaps into Wednesday. Twelve jurors will be selected out of 65 potential jurors, 32 men and 33 women, the vast majority of the pool being white, CBS News’ Clare Hymes and Kristine Guillaume note. During potential juror questioning, Judge Ellis asked if any in the pool had affiliations with the Justice Department. Nine out of the 65 said they did, but they all said that this affiliation would not cause bias for them.

Before Manafort attorney Kevin Downing entered the courtroom Tuesday morning, he told CBS News’ Paula Reid that there is “no chance” Manafort will cooperate with prosecutors or enter a plea deal.  White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Tuesday morning that there has been no discussion of a potential pardon by President Trump of Manafort. Still, Reid points out that the pardon power is broad enough for Mr. Trump to pardon Manafort at any time for the crimes he has been charged with in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Prosecutors say the word “Russia” isn’t likely to come up in this trial, which will center on Manafort’s Ukrainian consulting work and only briefly touch on his involvement with the president’s campaign.

Prosecutors have lined up 35 witnesses and over 500 pieces of evidence they say will show how Manafort earned more than $60 million from his Ukrainian work and then concealed a “significant percentage” of that money from the IRS. Prosecutors will also argue that Manafort fraudulently obtained millions more in bank loans, including during his time on the campaign.

And they plan to introduce evidence that a chairman of one of the banks allowed Manafort to file inaccurate loan information in exchange for a role on the Republican campaign and the promise of a job in the Trump administration that never materialized.

At the center of all this will be another Trump campaign aide, Rick Gates, who spent years working for Manafort in Ukraine and is also accused of helping him falsify paperwork used to obtain the bank loans. Gates, who cut a plea deal with Mueller earlier this year, is expected to testify against his former mentor.

Gates is also expected to play a key role in Manafort’s second trial, scheduled for September. That trial, set in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that the longtime political consultant acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the U.S. government.

Manafort is the only American charged by Mueller to opt for a trial.

The other 31 people charged have either pleaded guilty or are Russians seen as unlikely to enter an American courtroom. Three Russian companies have also been charged. One of those companies has pleaded not guilty and is fighting the allegations in federal court in Washington.

CBS News’ Paula Reid, Clare Hymes and Kristine Guillaume contributed to this report.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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