Mueller files new charge against Paul Manafort
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Mueller files new charge against Paul Manafort

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrived at federal court, Dec. 11, in Washington. In a dramatic escalation of pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges, Thursday, against Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates.

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WASHINGTON >> The Latest on the Russia investigation (all times local):

Update: 4:40 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is accusing President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman of secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

The new allegation against Paul Manafort comes in a newly unsealed indictment made public today. The indictment followed a guilty plea by Manafort’s longtime business associate, Rick Gates.

The indictment accuses Manafort of paying the former politicians, informally known as the “Hapsburg group,” to appear to be “independent” analysts when in fact they were paid lobbyists. Some of the covert lobbying took place in the U.S.

The indictment says the group was managed by a former European chancellor. Court papers accuse Manafort of using offshore accounts to pay the group more than 2 million euros.

3:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is maintaining his innocence after his longtime business associate pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Paul Manafort says in a statement that the plea by Rick Gates today does not change his commitment to defend himself against what he calls “untrue piled up charges.” Manafort says he had “hoped and expected” that Gates would have “the strength” to continue to trial. He says Gates chose to plead guilty for “reasons yet to surface.”

Gates has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false statements charges in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

The plea is a strong indication that Gates is planning to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as it continues to probe the Trump campaign, Russian election interference and Manafort.

2:55 p.m.

A former top adviser to President Donald Trump’s election campaign has formally pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false statements charges in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

The plea by Rick Gates is a strong indication that he is planning to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as it continues to probe the Trump campaign, Russian election interference and Gates’ longtime business associate, Paul Manafort.

The 45-year-old Gates made the plea at the federal courthouse in Washington. It comes a day after Gates and Manafort were indicted in Virginia on new charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. Manafort, who is Trump’s former campaign chairman, has said he is innocent.

2 p.m.

Rick Gates, a former senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, has arrived at a federal courthouse in Washington ahead of an expected guilty plea.

A court filing shows Gates has agreed to plea to charges accusing him of conspiring against the U.S. government related to fraud and unregistered foreign lobbying as well as lying to federal authorities.

The plea could indicate he is planning to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Gates’ scheduled guilty plea comes a day after a federal grand jury in Virginia returned an indictment against him and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort accusing them of tax evasion and bank fraud.

12:30 p.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed two charges in advance of a scheduled guilty plea by a former top adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Rick Gates is set to appear at 2 p.m. today at the federal courthouse in Washington for a plea agreement hearing. A court filing shows Gates has agreed to plea to charges accusing him of conspiring against the U.S. government related to fraud and unregistered foreign lobbying as well as lying to federal authorities.

The plea could indicate he is planning to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Gates’ scheduled guilty plea comes a day after a federal grand jury in Virginia returned an indictment against him and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort accusing them of tax evasion and bank fraud.

11:05 a.m.

A former top adviser to the Trump campaign is expected to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

A person close to Rick Gates say he is expected to enter the plea as early as today. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details.

A plea could signal that he’s planning to cooperate with Mueller.

The plea comes a day after a federal grand jury in Virginia returned an indictment against him and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort accusing them of tax evasion and bank fraud. It was the second round of charges against the two men. They were charged last October with unregistered lobbying and conspiring to launder millions of dollars they earned while working on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

12:10 a.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed additional criminal charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate.

The Thursday filing adds allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud and significantly increases the legal jeopardy facing Paul Manafort, who managed Trump’s campaign for several months in 2016, and longtime associate Rick Gates. Both had already faced the prospect of at least a decade in prison if convicted at trial.

The two men were initially charged in a 12-count indictment in October that accused them of a multimillion-dollar money-laundering conspiracy tied to lobbying work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. Manafort and Gates, who also worked on Trump’s campaign, both pleaded not guilty after that indictment.

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