US prosecutors on Tuesday portrayed President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort as someone who hid his wealth from political work in Ukraine, as the first trial began arising from an investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 USA election.
Among them is former Manafort associate Rick Gates, who in February pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to investigators.
The charges largely predate the five months Mr Manafort worked on the Trump team in 2016, some of them as campaign chairman.
Defence attorney Thomas Zehnle said in his opening statement that Manafort trusted others to keep track of the millions of dollars he was earning from his Ukrainian political work.
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.
The trial, in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to last at least three weeks.
Bank records obtained by prosecutors show that Manafort used money transfers from more than 30 overseas accounts to pay for $6 million worth of real estate and all manner of luxury goods, from a $21,000 watch to a $15,000 jacket "made from ostrich", Asonye said.
"The judge has very strictly instructed no mention of Paul Manafort's role in the Trump campaign, no mention of Trump, Russia or collusion", senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday morning on Fox News. Prosecutors, though, are recommending 8 years to 10 years.
Ellis has scolded members of Mueller's team before, asserting back in May that the team was really interested in targeting President Trump.
Trump has repeatedly denounced the special counsel's investigation as a politically motivated "witch hunt" and denied there was any collusion with Moscow to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump tweeted early Tuesday. The president has criticized past administrations for not divulging information about his former campaign manager Paul Manafort's alleged crimes.
The government's first witness following opening statements was Tad Devine, who recalled his work with Manafort in Ukraine to help pro-Russian political figure Viktor Yanukovych. That left a jury of 12 and four additional alternate jurors, who were sworn in as Mr. Manafort looked on wearing a dark suit.
Given the strength of the evidence, however, some legal experts have suggested Manafort may be banking on an eventual pardon from Trump, who has called his former campaign chairman a "nice guy" who has been treated unfairly.
This is the first of two trials for Manafort.
Expected to be a main witness, Gates was Manafort's right-hand man for years and has knowledge of their offshore accounts and work for Deripaska and in Ukraine.
Prosecutors have said they will not present evidence of collusion at this trial. The second trial, scheduled for September in the District of Columbia, involves allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests.
Manafort is also charged in federal court in Washington with undisclosed foreign lobbying and money laundering.