The trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on tax evasion and bank fraud charges got underway at a courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on Tuesday.
Two questions loom large as Manafort prepares to walk into court: will he spend what effectively could be the rest of his life in prison, or will special counsel Robert Mueller be handed a defeat in his team's first trial since his appointment more than a year ago?
Those questions will be answered by 12 jurors selected this week who will face questions from both sides and US District Judge T.S. Ellis III, as they try to weed out potential prejudice in what has become a highly publicised and politically divisive investigation.
That task comes as the president and his lawyer-spokesman, Rudy Giuliani, have intensified their attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation in the court of public opinion.
The president criticised Mueller by name over the weekend and continues to refer to the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference as a "witch hunt" and "an illegal scam".