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Ex-Trump campaign head Manafort pleads not guilty in second case

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (C) arrives with his wife Kathleen Manafort (R) at the federal courthouse in Alexandtria Virginia Thursday, where he pleaded not guilty to bank and tax fraud charges
AFP

Washington (AFP) – Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of bank and tax fraud in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s sprawling Russia meddling probe.

Answering the second set of charges brought against him by Mueller’s team, Manafort asked the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for a jury trial.

A trial date was set for July 10.

On February 28 Manafort, 68, also pleaded not guilty in a Washington court to charges of money laundering, illegal lobbying and lying, setting up the first trial to result from Mueller’s investigation.

The charges in both cases relate to Manafort laundering some $75 million in relation to his work for Russia-backed former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych between about 2006 and 2014.

Manafort’s former aide in Ukraine and on the Trump campaign, Rick Gates, negotiated a plea deal last month with Mueller, accepting reduced charges in exchange for cooperation in the broader probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who interfered in the 2016 presidential race.

But Manafort, a veteran Washington Republican political consultant, has refused to do a deal and will go to trial instead.

The trial related to the charges set in the Washington court will begin on September 17.

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