Paul Manafort’s trial begins: The charges don’t involve politics; the trial can’t avoid it

Yet Manafort’s case is anything but normal — starting with the fact that it is scheduled to go to trial at all.

President Trump’s former campaign chairman is the first person to stand trial on charges brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Jury selection is scheduled to get underway Tuesday and is expected to proceed swiftly. Opening statements could start as early as Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s the special counsel, a very high-profile defendant and the specter of the president hanging over the trial,” said Edward MacMahon, a longtime attorney in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

The charges stem from Manafort’s role as a consultant for the former Ukranian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and alleged criminal schemes Manafort used to hide the money he earned. In a court filing Monday, prosecutors said Manafort earned…

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