ARLINGTON, VA – Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pled not guilty on Thursday to charges of tax and bank fraud as part of the Russia investigation.
The charges were the latest brought by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in the wide-ranging probe of possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia to rig the 2016 election.
Manafort, along with Robert Gates, another former senior Trump campaign official, is charged with a string of financial crimes that pre-date his involvement with the campaign. Mueller alleges that Manafort acted for nearly a decade as an unregistered foreign agent for the government of Ukraine, making millions of dollars that he hid from the Federal government through a series of fraudulent loans and shell corporations.
Gates has already pled guilty to the Federal government’s charges and is cooperating with Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Manafort is facing federal charges in the US District Court in both Virginia and the District of Columbia. The case out of Washington is focused on charges of criminal conspiracy, while the charges in Virginia are focused on tax fraud and evasion.
In court today, Manafort’s defense attorney, Kevin Downey, said they would look into consolidating all charges and moving the case to the Eastern District Court in Arlington.
Manafort was arraigned in the DC case in February, where he was ordered confined to his home, and a bond of $10 million was placed on him.
In court today, Judge T.S. Ellis also ordered Manafort confined to his home.
“Purely on the facts presented to me, he is quite manifestly a risk of flight,” the judge said, citing Manafort’s substantial wealth and overseas connections.
As a result, Manafort will now be wearing two different location trackers at all times. He’s allowed to leave his home for meetings with his attorneys, medical emergencies, and religious observances.
The prosecution said it will be bringing between 20 and 25 witnesses when the case goes to trial, and expects testimony to last between eight and 10 days.
Judge Ellis set the trial to begin July 10th.