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Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort faced court for the first time Tuesday in his bank and tax fraud trial. Manafort is the first American charged in the inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller, looking at Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In opening arguments, Mueller's prosecutors painted Manafort as a man with no qualms about committing tax evasion to fund his "extravagant lifestyle" by hiding at least US$15 million in income earned from consulting work in Ukraine.
This trial — the first of two currently scheduled — relates to allegations he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the funds stopped coming in. Manafort has been in jail for nearly two months in the lead up to this trial after he was charged with witness tampering.