Mueller files new charges against Trump ex-aides Manafort and Gates

From Reuters - February 22, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed new criminal charges on Thursday against President Donald Trumps ex-campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that include bank and tax fraud, stepping up pressure in a legal battle that started last year.

The latest charges were contained in a 32-count indictment against the two men that was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria.

Manafort and Gates are already facing criminal charges by Muellers office in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that include conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States and failure to register as foreign agents for political work they did for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

They were among the first to be charged, as part of Muellers ongoing investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Russia has denied meddling in the campaign and Trump has denied any collusion took place.

The latest charges against Manafort, who was Trumps campaign manager for five months in 2016, and Gates, who was deputy campaign manager, do not mention their work for the Trump campaign, but could escalate pressure on them to make a deal with prosecutors and cooperate in the probe that has shadowed Trumps year-old presidency.

A spokesman for Manafort did not immediately comment on the new charges, and Thomas Green, a lawyer whom Gates just retained, could not be immediately reached.

Manafort and Gates have both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought in the D.C. court in October.

Earlier this year, Manafort filed a civil complaint against Muellers office alleging the special counsel exceeded his authority by bringing charges against him because none of the charges were connected to the 2016 election.

The White House has repeatedly declined to comment on the Manafort and Gates matter as it has nothing to do with the White House or the campaign, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said in response to the latest indictment.


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