Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to an 18-count indictment in Russia probe

Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort, left, leaves Federal District Court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, and Manafort's business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States and other counts. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(ABC) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appeared in Alexandria, Virginia federal court on Thursday and entered a plea of not guilty to an 18-count indictment as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Thursday marked Manafort’s first appearance in the Virginia federal court – where the special counsel’s team filed his 18-count indictment last month on charges of money laundering and tax evasion among others.

Late last month, Manafort pleaded not guilty to a five-count revised indictment filed by the special counsel team in Washington D.C. federal court. The judge in that case set Manafort’s trial to begin on Sept. 17.

Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates, pleaded guilty to a dramatically-reduced set of charges in federal court late last month in exchange for his cooperation with Mueller’s probe. As part of Gates’ plea deal, he now faces just two felony counts provided he cooperates fully with special counsel investigators.

During his arraignment last month, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cautioned that there could be “overlap” in both cases against Manafort as they head to trial.

“It seems like the government is setting itself up” for “duplicative motions” and a “risk of inconsistent rulings and motions,” Jackson said.

Special Counsel prosecutor Greg Andres said the government had anticipated that, but he noted that it was the defense that opted for the separate venue in Virginia.

“I think the burden will fall heaviest on the defense,” Jackson warned.

In the Washington D.C. trial, the government said it anticipates using a written questionnaire to select a jury, and the judge cautioned that the document should contain no more than 50 “short” questions.

“Less is even better,” Judge Jackson said with a smile after Manafort’s arraignment.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for details.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s