Collusion probe off limits in second Paul Manafort trial, US judge rules
Former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort faces 18 counts related to tax and bank fraud (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

The federal judge overseeing the second trial of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, ruled on Wednesday that a federal investigation of possible collusion between the campaign and Russia cannot be discussed during the trial.

The collusion investigation being led by a U.S. special counsel is “wholly irrelevant to the charges in this case,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said during a pre-trial hearing.

During the trial, Manafort will face seven counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements and witness tampering.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Bill Trott