The New York Times published a good analysis of the trial (link here), as did the Associated Press (link here) and NPR (link here). Reuters published a handy overview of the criminal charges themselves (link here).
Trump has repeatedly said the charges relate to things that happened "many years before" Manafort became his campaign chairman. That is a lie. The most serious charges he faces in this trial relate to alleged crimes that occurred in part while he was campaign chairman.
When campaigning, Trump repeatedly said he would hire "the best people," boasting he could attract talent far superior to any prior President. When he was saying this, one of those "best people" was working for him and potentially committing serious financial crimes.
The reality is that Trump has a knack for picking bottomfeeders. Manafort has been a bottomfeeder for years, working for dictators and shady oligarchs before becoming Trump's campaign chairman. The Washington Post released a great twenty-minute video this week titled "The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort" that provides a good portrait of the man (link here).
Heading into court, Manafort's chances to escape prison are not good. Recent statistics show federal prosecutors secure convictions in 97 percent of cases that go to trial.
And this will not be Manafort's only criminal trial this year. He faces another one in less than two months in Washington. His odds in that one are said by legal experts to be even longer.
Of course, one reason today's trial may not happen has nothing to do with court delays or procedure. His trial would be delayed if he decided to flip and testify against Trump himself. That would be a glorious last-minute development.
Definitely stay tuned this week.