Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Paul Manafort Chastised by Federal Judge for Breaking Gag Order

Paul Manafort Chastised by Federal Judge for Breaking Gag Order

President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to money laundering and tax evasion charges as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

He entered the plea in federal court in Virginia.

"You need to go back to the optometrist", the judge replied, and ordered the Virginia trial to begin July 10.

He appeared in the federal court in Washington on February 28 to plead not guilty to 17 grand jury charges of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, lying to federal agents and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Both indictments accuse Manafort of hiding the work he did for and the money he made from a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in the election, possible obstruction of justice, and alleged financial crimes by Manafort and others.

In a related case, Manafort last week pleaded not guilty and is set for a September 17 trial.

That agreement requires him to offer information on any matters that special counsel Robert Mueller deems relevant. Guidelines call for about eight to 10 years, though.

Manafort’s longtime business associate and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller’s team last month
Paul Manafort gets a trial date

In Washington, Manafort faces counts of conspiracy to launder more than $30 million, making false statements, failing to follow lobbying disclosure laws and working as an unregistered foreign agent. He had hoped for the trial to be in November, he said, after Manafort faces a jury in the District.

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.

Prosecutors told said in court they planned to call 20-25 witnesses and said their arguments could last up to two weeks.

Manafort is innocent of the Virginia charges, his spokesperson Jason Maloni said in a statement after the indictment was announced.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman has pleaded not guilty on charges including tax evasion and bank fraud.

U.S. Senior Judge T.S. Ellis III picked the July date, though he did not foreclose the possibility of granting an extension to the defense if warranted.

Manafort is already on home confinement and under Global Positioning System monitoring in the District.

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