Speed Reads

Law And Order

Paul Manafort's first high-profile trial begins Tuesday. He and Robert Mueller both have a lot at stake.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's first court trial begins Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, with selection of 12 jurors to consider Mueller's first 18 charges against President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, most of them dealing with alleged financial crimes. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to last about three weeks, and if convicted, Manafort realistically faces seven to 12 years in prison, based on federal sentencing guidelines. Mueller's team has named 35 potential witnesses to help make its case that Manafort fraudulently obtained loans and illegally failed to report a "significant percentage" of the $60 million he allegedly earned in Ukraine to the IRS.

Tuesday morning, before jury selection, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis will adjudicate a motion by Manafort's legal team to exclude prosecutors' evidence detailing Manafort's work for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine, arguing that such information would be "irrelevant, prejudicial and unnecessarily time-consuming." In a second trial later this year, Mueller's team will argue that Manafort acted as an unregistered foreign agent. Mueller, who isn't expected to attend the Virginia trial, has won indictments or guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies, and Manafort is the only American who opted to try his luck in court. If you're wondering why Manafort isn't cooperating with Mueller, The Week's Matthew Walther has some theories.