Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty on Monday after being indicted on 12 counts by a federal grand jury as part of the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign officials in the 2016 presidential election.
Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges. A judge set bond at $10 million for Manafort, and $5 million for Gates. Both sides agreed to home detention.
The special counsel’s office told Fox News that the counts include conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration (FARA) statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts.
“President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government,” Kevin Downing, an attorney for Manafort, responded, referencing earlier tweets and statements from the president. “A claim that maintaining offshore accounts to bring all your funds into the United States, as a scheme to conceal from the United States government, is ridiculous.”
Downing said outside court earlier Monday that Manafort was “seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukraine come closer to the United States and the E.U.”
‘This fight is just beginning.’
Glenn Selig, Gates’ spokesman, said in a statement Monday that Gates “welcomes the opportunity to confront these charges in court.”
“He is not going to comment further until he has had a chance to review the lengthy indictment with his legal team,” Selig said. “He would appreciate you respecting his and his family’s privacy as they weather this unexpected and hasty proceeding designed to accommodate perhaps political and press considerations rather than his right to have counsel of his choice by his side during the most troubling and challenging day for him and his loved ones.”
Selig added: “This fight is just beginning.”
Manafort and Gates appeared before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson on Monday for their initial appearance and arraignment.
According to the indictment, reviewed by Fox News, between at least 2006 and 2015, Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was president from 2010 to 2014, and the Opposition Bloc. Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their work in Ukraine.
The indictment says that Manafort and Gates laundered the money through scores of the United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts in order to hide Ukraine payments from U.S. authorities.
More than $75 million flowed through offshore accounts. Manafort, alone, allegedly laundered more than $18 million which was used by the former Trump campaign chairman to buy property, goods, and services in the U.S., while concealing that income from the U.S. Treasury and the Department of Justice.
Dowling’s full statement, provided to Project Republic:
President Donald Trump was correct. There is no evidence the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russia government.
Mr. Manafort represented pro-European Union campaigns for the Ukrainians and in the course of that representation he was seeking to further democracy and to help the Ukrainians come closer to the United States and to the EU. Those activities ended in 2014, two years before Mr. Manafort served in the Trump Campaign.
Today you see an indictment brought by the Office of Special Counsel that is using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort regarding a FARA filing. The United States government has only used that offense six times since 1966 and only resulted in one conviction.
The second thing about this indictment that I, myself, find most ridiculous is a claim that maintaining offshore accounts to bring all your funds into the United States, as a scheme to conceal from the United States government, is ridiculous.
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