President Donald Trump has described the bank and tax fraud trial of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as “very sad”.
He has also termed investigations of Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, which had cast a cloud over his presidency, a “rigged witch hunt.”
Manafort’s trial is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 15-month-old investigation of Russia’s role in the election.
Manafort faces five counts of filing false tax returns, four counts of failing to disclose his offshore bank accounts and nine counts of bank fraud.
If convicted on all counts, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.