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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives at a federal courthouse November 2, 2017. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Paul Manafort's trial began after the jury was seated on Tuesday with Manafort's defense team quickly placing blame on his confidant and business partner, Rick Gates, saying he lied to both Manafort and federal investigators about Manafort’s taxes.

Why it matters: Manafort's trial is the first of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump Campaign and potential ties to Russia. Though Mueller's team likely won't make any reference to "Russians" or "collusion," and instead focus on alleged financial crimes by Manafort. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Manafort faces charges of tax and bank fraud in relation to the laundering of $30 million in income, one count acting as an unregistered foreign agent, two counts of making false statements, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and another count of obstruction of justice.

The latest from the trial:

Prosecutors described Manafort as a "shrewd" liar in the opening statements for his trial today. Manafort's lawyers placed much of the blame on Rick Gates.

  • Manafort's defense team claimed he never "intentionally" misled the IRS, with attorney Thomas Zehnle claiming Manafort's financial arrangements were requested by the people in Ukraine funding his work.

Tad Devine was the first witness prosecutors called to the stand. Devine was Bernie Sander's chief strategist during his 2016 campaign.

  • Devine worked with Manafort and Gates in Ukraine in 2009-10 on the campaign trail for the Party of Regions — a pro-Russia political party, reports the Washington Post.
  • Devine said Manafort was in charge of the campaign and described he and Gates as underlings. He claimed Manafort brought American-style politics to Ukraine.

This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments.

Go deeper

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

6 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.