Paul Manafort on Tuesday will become the first of President Donald Trump’s former aides to go on trial, accused of bank and tax fraud by federal investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Despite a focus on financial crimes, the trial could yield politically damaging headlines about a man who ran Trump’s campaign for three months and attended a June 2016 meeting with Russians offering damaging information about Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton that is now a focal point of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 14-month-old probe.
“My guess is you will see O.J.-type frenzy at this court event,” said Michael Caputo, a former Trump aide and longtime Manafort associate, referring to the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case. “I really hope the president continues to watch and make public comments about this case.”