Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to new charges, trial set for July

Manafort pleads not guilty at arraignment in Russia probe Modal Trigger Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 09 March, 2018, 03:28

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, denied federal felony charges - again.

Arguing for an even earlier trial date in May, Weissmann said the case was not complicated, a claim that Downing and Ellis disputed.

Thursday marked Manafort's first appearance in the Virginia federal court - where the special counsel's team filed his 18-count indictment last month on charges of money laundering and tax evasion among others.

Jackson referenced a statement issued on behalf of Manafort on the day that his former business associate and co-defendant Rick Gates pleaded guilty in his own case.

In the DC charges alone, Manafort faces a likely sentence of more than 15 years to nearly 20 years in prison if found guilty. But prosecutors say they were required to bring these charges to Virginia because they lacked venue in the nation's capital.

Manafort is among 19 people charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians during the 2016 US election. In Virginia, Manafort is accused of hiding foreign bank accounts, falsifying his income taxes and failing to report foreign bank accounts.

U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson Berman granted Gates' request by Richard Gates after receiving no objection from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In June 2017, when Manafort registered as a foreign agent after the fact, he reported making more than $17 million from the Party of Regions.

Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

A mystery man held up a sign reading "Traitor" as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrived at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse for an arraignment hearing on March 8, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Two weeks ago, the men's Russian-connected attorney Alex Van der Zwaan was charged with misleading the Federal Bureau of Investigation about work he did for Manafort and Gates.

Manafort also faces bank fraud charges in Virginia not directly related to his work in Ukraine.