Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud

09 March, 2018, 09:31 | Author: Bert Pena
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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax and fraud charges in federal court in Virginia.

Manafort, 68, faces up to 305 years in prison if found guilty of all charges associated with the Virginia indictment.

A federal judge in Alexandria on Thursday set a July 10 trial date for Paul Manafort.

The mysterious protester held up a sign that read "Blood money" as Rick Gates, a former top adviser to President Donald Trump's, entered federal court, where he pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false statements charges.

Prosecutors claim Manafort concealed his lobbying activities connected to the pro-Russia government in Ukraine by laundering millions of dollars and hiding his bounty in offshore accounts in locales like Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

The charges were brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said in court that the special counsel's office has already turned over all relevant documents to Manafort's attorneys and was ready to go to trial soon. Manafort's trial in Washington begins in September.

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That agreement requires him to offer information on any matters that special counsel Robert Mueller deems relevant.

In the DC charges alone, Manafort faces a likely sentence of more than 15 years to nearly 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Among those indicted are 13 Russians accused of engaging in a multiyear effort to tilt the election in Trump's favor using social media platforms, secret operatives and political rallies in the U.S.

Also waiting was Bill Christeson of Kensington, Md., who said he has followed Manafort to several court appearances and has been hoping to see the longtime lobbyist prosecuted for decades. He faces up to 15 years on the charges of filing false tax returns and up to 20 years on the charges of failing to report foreign bank accounts.

After Gates plead guilty last month, Manafort released a statement through spokesman Jason Maloni reaffirming his his confidence that he will be acquitted of all charges.

The case is the second linked to the Mueller probe.

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