Ex-Trump campaign chair charged with conspiracy against the United States, pleads not guilty

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WASHINGTON (KKTV/AP) - One-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is facing a long list of charges including conspiracy against the United States, the first charges to emerge from the probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Manafort surrendered to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller Monday.

A second former Trump campaign official and Manafort business associate, Rick Gates, also turned himself in Monday morning.

Among other things, Manafort and Gates face felony charges of conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and several other financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts. They pleaded not guilty at their first court appearance, which was also Monday. The government has asked for Manafort's bail to be set at $10 million and Gates' at $5 million.


While the allegations came to light through Mueller's sprawling investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election effort, the indictment doesn’t reference the Trump campaign or make any allegations about coordination between the Kremlin and the president’s aides to influence the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor. The indictment does, however, reveal reveal a former campaign aide pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for Mueller, making him the first to face criminal charges that cite interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The indictment alleges Manafort and Gates were involved in a criminal conspiracy that continued through February 2017. Click here to read the indictment

The indictment filed in federal court in Washington accused both men of funneling tens of millions of dollars in payments through foreign companies and bank accounts as part of their political work in Ukraine. Manafort and Gates surrendered to federal authorities Monday, and were expected in court later in the day to face charges brought by Mueller’s team.

The indictment lays out 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements and several charges related to failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. The indictment alleges that they moved money through hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles.

If convicted on all counts, Manafort and Gates face decades in prison and millions in fines.

CNN broke the news late last week that an indictment was pending in the Russian probe, but reported the indictment was sealed so it was unclear who was named. Manafort, whose financial documents were seized in a July FBI raid at his home, was widely guessed to be the one indicted.

Manafort was involved in the Trump campaign from March to August of last year. President Donald Trump distanced himself from Manafort early on in the Russia investigation, stating that he hadn't spoken to Manafort in a long time. Manafort was pushed out of the campaign amid a steady stream of negative headlines about Manafort’s foreign consulting work.

Trump responded to the news in a tweet Monday morning:



Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated the indictment showed no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and that Monday's announcement "has nothing to do with the president."


Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into whether the Kremlin worked with associates of the Trump campaign to tip the 2016 presidential election.

This is a developing story and we will be updating this article as new information becomes available.