He is now on trial for bank fraud and tax evasion charges in Virginia while he awaits another in D.C. This trial is one of the most closely watched events to date to come out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.
Here are some of the key witnesses who will appear at trial, as well as the Ukrainians and Russians we’ll be hearing about.
At the current trial, Trump’s former campaign chairman faces 18 counts related to bank and tax fraud, which prosecutors say arose from his lobbying and political work in Ukraine. Though the charges in this case center on Manafort’s finances rather than his work for Trump, some have speculated that Mueller is trying to pressure Manafort into flipping and providing dirt on the president.
Manafort spent decades lobbying and working on Republican campaigns, including those of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Manafort also went into political consulting abroad. He advised authoritarian governments, including those in the Philippines, Nigeria and the former Zaire. In 2005, he advised Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov on how to improve his public image and later worked to elect the pro-Russia politician Viktor Yanukovych as president.
Federal prosecutors say Manafort didn’t report at least $30 million in income from his Ukraine consulting and concealed several offshore accounts.
After Yanukovych was ousted from his seat, Manafort’s influx of cash stopped. That’s when, between 2015 and 2017, he allegedly schemed to obtain loans from banks based on fraudulent declarations of his finances.
Manafort joined Trump’s campaign in an unpaid position in March 2016, ascending to campaign chairman in May of that year. He resigned that August after he was named in the “black ledger,” which detailed payments from Ukraine’s Party of Regions ― Yanukovych’s party.
The judge said that Manafort faces a “very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison” given the amount of evidence against him.
Rick Gates, Manafort’s right-hand man, was expected to be the government’s star witness, though reports Wednesday indicate prosecutors may not call him after all. Nevertheless, Gates is a key figure in the case.
He and Manafort worked together in Ukraine, as well as on Trump’s campaign.
According to the indictment, Gates assisted Manafort with tampering with documents and misrepresenting Manafort’s and his own finances. However, Gates is set to testify against his former business partner as part of a deal with prosecutors in which he pled guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
Mueller’s case against Manafort consists mostly of financial records or other documents, but Gates’ intimate knowledge of Manafort’s thinking could reveal Manafort’s intentions to deceive or mislead the government.
Tad Devine was the first witness called to testify in the trial on Tuesday.
Devine had been a senior adviser to the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but before that he worked with Manafort as a consultant to help elect Yanukovych as president of Ukraine in 2010.
Devine quit working for Yanukovych after the government arrested former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He declined to work with Manafort during the 2012 Ukrainian elections, but later returned to build a new Ukrainian political party after Yanukovych was ousted in 2014.
While on the stand Tuesday, Devine said he earned $600,000 for working on Yanukovych’s 2010 presidential campaign and that his firm was paid by Manafort’s company via wire transfer. He said he did not know if the money came from a foreign bank account.
Devine’s consulting firm has asserted that he did nothing illegal.
Viktor Yanukovych won’t appear at trial, but his name will figure prominently during testimony. The former president of Ukraine won his seat with the help of Manafort, who revamped Yanukovych’s image during a run for prime minister in 2006.
Before that race, Yanukovych had been arrested twice, and his Party of Regions was known for being tied to organized crime and Russia. Manafort allegedly taught Yanukovych how to deliver a speech, stay on message and dress like a politician. Yanukovych was elected prime minister in 2006, but lost another race for the position in 2007.
In 2010, Yanukovych brought Manafort on for his presidential campaign. Although he won, he was ousted in February 2014 after he persecuted his political enemies and was accused of corruption.
The former politician is wanted by Ukraine for corruption and murder and faces sanctions by the U.S. and European Union for the invasion of Crimea.
Konstantin Kilimnik is a Russian political consultant who worked for Manafort’s consulting firm in Kiev, Ukraine. He was the 20th person to be indicted by Mueller and is facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.
In June, Kilimnik and Manafort were later charged with witness tampering for allegedly asking two witnesses to provide false testimony.
Kilimnik’s name appears in several emails that prosecutors plan to show at trial. The government has said it believes Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence, which he has denied.
Oleg Deripaska, a close acquaintance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is likely to come up in relation to $10 million he allegedly lent to Manafort.
Deripaska, who will not appear at trial, is also the person who allegedly introduced Manafort to Ukraine.
The U.S. revoked Deripaska’s visa in 2005, possibly because of alleged ties to organized crime, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Less than two weeks before Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination, Manafort offered to give “private briefings” about the 2016 election to Deripaska, The Washington Post reported.
The name of Rinat Akhmetov, a Ukrainian steel magnate, has already popped up in the trial. Devine testified on Tuesday that Akhmetov contributed funds to the Party of Regions and was close with Manafort.
Akhmetov hired Manafort in 2005 to improve the public image of his company. Akhmetov was an early backer of the Russia-friendly Party of Regions and brought Manafort in to work on the party’s campaigns, including Yanukovych’s.
Akhmetov is one of the wealthiest people in Ukraine, with a net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes.