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Manafort pleads not guilty to fraud charges

Manafort pleads not guilty to fraud charges
UPI

March 8 (UPI) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax and fraud charges in federal court in Virginia.

The charges — 18 counts in total — stem from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2017 presidential election.

The case is the second linked to the Mueller probe. Last week Manafort pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and money laundering charges and a federal judge in Washington, D.C., set a trial for Sept. 17.

U.S. District Court Judge TS Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia set Manafort’s trial date there for July 10.

The Virginia indictment accused Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, of lying to banks about their business income in order to secure more than $20 million in loans.

Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 after The New York Times reported a Ukrainian government corruption probe found Manafort received nearly $13 million off the books from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. 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.

The new indictment says Manafort and Gates passed the money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to conceal it from the Internal Revenue Service. The charges include preparing false tax returns, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and failure to disclose income from foreign sources.

Manafort, 68, faces up to 305 years in prison if found guilty of all charges associated with the Virginia indictment. The charges associated with his Washington, D.C., case levy up to nearly 20 years in prison. A judge placed him on house arrest after he pleaded not guilty to those charges.

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