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Former Trump campaign chief faces arraignment in Virginia

09 March 2018

Manafort pleaded not guilty to charges including tax evasion and bank fraud that stem from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the USA elections.

Prosecutors asked for the trial to come before a related trial Mr. Manafort is set to face in Washington in September, while Mr. Manafort requested a November date.

The federal judge in Virginia set July 10 as the start of Manafort's trial.

Manafort has been under increasing pressure to cooperate with Mueller, especially after his former business partner and former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates pleaded guilty last month to lying to investigators and conspiring to defraud the United States.

In Washington D.C., Manafort is charged with making false statements about his foreign lobbying work for pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians, and engaging in a money laundering conspiracy.

None of the charges against Manafort make reference to alleged Russian interference in the election nor the accusations of collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign.

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In one instance, Manafort allegedly dealt with an unpaid $300,000 American Express bill by telling a bank that Gates had borrowed his credit card and run up the charges, the indictment says.

Attorney Andrew Weissman, representing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, told the judge he expects the government will bring forward 20 to 25 witnesses.

The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), and U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Prosecutors had offered to combine the indictments in the District, but Manafort refused to do so.

"The new allegations against Mr. Manafort, once again, have nothing to do with Russian Federation and 2016 election interference/collusion", the statement said. He faces up to 15 years on the charges of filing false tax returns and up to 20 years on the charges of failing to report foreign bank accounts.

The Justice Department responded with a 35-page brief last week, saying Manafort could not use a civil lawsuit to attack ongoing criminal proceedings.

Former Trump campaign chief faces arraignment in Virginia