Judge Delays Start of Manafort Trial for Six Days

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge on Monday delayed the financial crimes trial of Paul Manafort for six days to allow Mr. Manafort’s lawyers more time to review a trove of documents that they said could be crucial to his defense.

The decision by the judge, T. S. Ellis III of the United States District Court in Alexandria, pushed the start of the trial back to next Tuesday. It is the first of two faced by Mr. Manafort, the veteran Republican lobbyist and former campaign chairman for President Trump.

Mr. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and tax evasion in a case that arose from the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors have said they do not intend to raise the issue of collusion with Russia during the trial, and Judge Ellis warned lawyers on Monday not to stray into areas that could prejudice the jurors. He advised the defense not to attack the prosecutors’ motives, despite the fact that Judge Ellis has previously said in court that he believes Mr. Mueller is pursuing a case against Mr. Manafort as a way of pressuring him to help build a case against Mr. Trump.

“Even though I have said what I think the motive was, that doesn’t mean that it is admissible at trial,” the judge said. He also warned the lawyers to steer clear of the political sympathies of jurors, saying prospective members of the panel will not be queried about whether they voted for Mr. Trump.

“I am not going to allow this trial to drag on or encompass a bunch of irrelevant stuff” that does not bear on whether Mr. Manafort is guilty or innocent, he said. “I’m not in the theater business. You have to be better-looking for that.”

Judge Ellis granted the six-day delay after Mr. Manafort’s lawyers told him that prosecutors had turned over to them tens of thousands of documents three weeks ago from Mr. Manafort’s accountants and his business partner, Rick Gates.

Mr. Manafort, whose bail was revoked in a related trial, was in the courtroom for the proceedings on Monday, wearing a dark green jail jumpsuit.

Mr. Manafort, who worked for Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign for about five months in 2016 — including three months as his campaign chairman — is accused of failing to pay taxes on $30 million in income from Ukraine, where he had been hired to bolster a pro-Russia leader. He is also charged with laundering those funds through real estate and other means and engaging in bank fraud once the spigot of money dried up in 2014.

Judge Ellis warned the prosecutors away from mentioning Russia, citing “the amount of publicity and the antipathy toward Russians.” Greg D. Andres, the lead prosecutor, assured the judge that no government witness was expected to refer to Russia on the stand.

Mr. Andres pushed for — and appeared to at least preliminarily receive — permission to present evidence of who in Ukraine paid Mr. Manafort, including Ukrainian oligarchs who he said funneled payments to Mr. Manafort through an account in Cyprus that they controlled.

Mr. Andres said the prosecution intended to show Mr. Manafort’s “constant interaction” with the oligarchs and with Viktor F. Yanukovych, his principal benefactor. Mr. Yanukovych, an ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, was elected Ukraine’s president in 2010 but fled to Russia in 2014 after a popular uprising.

Both Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates worked for years to bolster Mr. Yanukovych and the pro-Russia parties in Ukraine. Mr. Gates, who served as Mr. Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, has pleaded guilty to related charges and is expected to testify against Mr. Manafort.

Mr. Andres also said that he planned to bring up Mr. Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign, albeit in a limited context. One bank chairman approved a loan to Mr. Manafort, he said, knowing that documents he had provided were false, because he was promised and eventually given a position on the Trump campaign. The same bank official hoped for but failed to get a job in the Trump administration, he said.

The judge also unveiled the identities of five witnesses whom he has ordered to testify under limited grants of immunity sought by the prosecution.

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