While the main areas of Mueller's investigation are Russia's actions during the 2016 presidential election and any attempts by Trump to obstruct justice, none of those topics are expected to come up in Manafort's trial.
Mueller is fighting Manafort's request for the court to exclude more than 50 trial exhibits that relate to his political consulting work in Ukraine between 2005 and 2014.
Manafort's defense team has filed a flurry of motions - to suppress evidence gathered from a Virginia storage unit, to challenge the mandate of the special counsel and to delay the trial - almost all of which it has lost so far.
Manafort, left, faces 32 financial charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, right, who is leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 us presidential election, including possible collusion between Russia and members of Trump's campaign team. A legal defense fund effort on his behalf backfired when a video he filmed for one of its fundraisers prompted a scolding from a judge, who had imposed a gag order on the D.C. case.
Short of an acquittal, the best hope for Manafort to avoid jail time remains a presidential pardon.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to report foreign bank accounts.
Gates has since pleaded guilty and agreed to help prosecutors with their case, as one of the government's star witnesses. During a May hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, Ellis said, "I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate".
As a result of their work with Ukraine, Manafort and Gates made tens of millions of dollars between 2006 and 2015.
"On top of that", he added, "the government will bring forth the coup de grace" with incriminating testimony by Gates, Manafort's former business partner.
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That appeal, referred to as a "petition" in the quote above, contended that Manafort's prior challenge of special counsel Robert Mueller's authority was wrongly dismissed.
Manafort's work for the pro-Russian government in Ukraine plays a central role in the allegations against him, since prosecutors say he concealed income from that work from US tax officials and allegedly laundered more than $18 million in proceeds. Witnesses have been told to avoid any mention of President Trump or anything related to his 2016 campaign.
"He's not Manafort's brain, but he knows Manafort's brain", said Patrick Cotter, a former prosecutor, who worked on the conviction of John Gotti.
The trial, in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to last at least three weeks.
He faces two criminal trials, the first in Alexandria, Virginia, and another later in Washington. Gates falsely claimed in a letter to a bank that a $300,000 delinquency on Manafort's credit card was a loan to him that Gates meant to pay back, the prosecutors alleged.
He's the only American charged in the Mueller probe to opt for a trial.
"The depth of the charges against Paul Manafort is such that at some point, the best decision for him will be to try to cut a deal", said Lisa Griffin, a former federal prosecutor who is now a law professor at Duke University.
Lawyers working for special counsel Robert Mueller plan to call witnesses they say demonstrate where Manafort spent his allegedly ill-gotten gains: custom-made suits; Persian rugs; landscaping fees; Land Rovers and Mercedes-Benz vehicles; and season tickets to the New York Yankees, among other items.