Paul Manafort Pleads Not Guilty to Money Laundering, Fraud Charges

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chief, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a vast money laundering conspiracy and fraud charges as a federal judge set trial for Sept. 17.

Manafort appeared for the first time in federal court since his campaign deputy Rick Gates pleaded guilty Friday to related charges and agreed to cooperate with the government’s prosecution of his longtime business partner.

Manafort was required to enter a new plea to the revamped five-count indictment issued Friday.

The indictment alleged that Manafort had secretly enlisted a group of “former European politicians,” including a former European chancellor to advocate on behalf of the pro-Russian faction Manafort represented in Ukraine.

Prosecutors have asserted that Manafort wired the unnamed officials more than 2 million euros from his off-shore accounts.

The new indictment, replacing the government’s October filing, dropped four charges that Manafort failed to register ownership of foreign bank accounts, though prosecutors said the accounts still form the basis of a criminal conspiracy.

Gates pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he conspired to defraud the United States by hiding money that he and Manafort earned while working in Ukraine.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Kevin Johnson