Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to new charges; trial date set

Paul Manafort’s legal struggle may continue into this year’s midterm elections.

The one-time Trump campaign chief pleaded “not guilty” on Wednesday to a revised set of charges brought against him last week, CNN reports.

Paul Manafort. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images).

Manafort’s lawyers came to an arrangement with federal prosecutors to commence the trial on Sept. 17. The lobbyist and political consultant has been charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and lying to the FBI.

The charges relate to his work for a former Ukrainian politician years before becoming involved with the 2016 Trump campaign.

The Manafort case is part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian electoral interference and possible collusion with Trump associates.

Rick Gates. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana).

Prosecutors presented the rewritten set of charges against Manafort on Friday, hours after his longtime business partner Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements to investigators.

Manafort and Gates were originally indicted in October, and then slapped with a 32-count indictment in Virginia for charges that included bank and tax fraud.

Following Gates’ guilty plea, Mueller’s office moved to drop charges from the Virginia indictment.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images).

The former Trump campaign chairman said he will continue to “maintain my innocence” after the Gates guilty plea.

“I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence,” a statement by Manafort read.

“For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci).

President Trump has repeatedly asserted his campaign did not collude with Russia, calling the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.”


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